BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) has agreed to offer an extra two-year guarantee to European owners of its diesel cars but no compensation in talks with Europe’s consumer affairs chief over its cheating on emissions tests, a European Commission spokesman said on Wednesday.
EU officials have piled pressure on VW to compensate European customers after it admitted to U.S. regulators in September 2015 that it had cheated on emissions tests there using software installed in as many as 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide - the majority of them in Europe.
Despite VW’s admission of wrongdoing in the United States, it says it has not broken the law in Europe and sees no need to compensate consumers there.
VW’s chief executive Matthias Mueller told the EU’s commissioner for consumer affairs earlier this week that the company would now offer European customers a two-year extended warranty, the Commission spokesman said.
However, commenting on the talks with the commissioner, Vera Jourova, Volkswagen did not confirm that it had agreed to extend its guarantee. The company instead referred back to earlier “confidence-building measures” including a commitment to fix all vehicles affected by this autumn, saying that updating the software would not detract from the car’s performance.
“Volkswagen has said all along that it cares for every customer,” it said in an email on Wednesday.
An extended warranty offer would be the first concession made by the company in response to mounting pressure from Brussels to do more for its diesel customers following months of talks with EU officials and more than a year after the Dieselgate scandal broke.
Jourova and other EU regulators have repeatedly expressed frustration over VW’s attitude to European customers in not offering the cash payouts granted to U.S. owners of its cars.
But the European Union is limited in what it can do to pressure the company since the power to police the car industry currently lies with member states, which approve new car models that are then sold throughout the bloc.
Unlike the United States, a patchwork of different legal rules across the Europe Union also weakens the chances of car owners successfully suing carmakers.
Additional reporting by Andreas Cremer in Berlin