Volkswagen Emissions Scandal:“No legal basis for compensation," say VW boss

Published 22 February 2017

The UK boss of Volkswagen has said there is “no legal basis” to award compensation to British car owners who have been affected by the Emissions Scandal

Paul Willis, managing director of Volkswagen UK, told MPs of the Transport Select Committee in a fractious meeting that the German carmaker had not misled customers in the UK because cars in Britain were not sold based on nitrogen oxide levels. He also denied that cars were fitted with "defeat devices" and said the problem was due to the lack of clarity of emission testing. 

“We did not fit defeat devices to our vehicles and we did not mislead customers in any way,” Willis told MPs, “there is no evidence that there has been any degradation in the resale value of these vehicles, so there is no loss. There is no legal basis for compensation.”

In Britain, Volkswagen is recalling more than one million cars from its Audi, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen brands, but Willis claimed this was down to a "technical fix" designed to make its cars compliant with British standards and to "remove any doubt". Willis added that, of the 1.2 million cars being recalled, 400,000 have had the "technical fix" and the remaining vehicles would be updated before the end of 2017. 

Willis told MPs that Volkswagen UK had not received many complaints from its customers and 20,000 vehicles were being fixed each week. When pressed on compensation, Willis was resolute that the USA was beyond compare due to the difference in regulations.

"Our position on compensation is clear. You cannot compare Europe to the United States. In the US, technical fixes do not get cars back to compliance. In Europe they do and can be done in 20 minutes,” explained Willis. 

"The vehicles are unchanged in Europe. The fuel economy and performance is the same. There is no evidence that there has been degradation in value," he added. 

Volkswagen has agreed to pay fines and compensate US owners to more than $19 million. However, while it accepts that software was fitted to cars in Europe to detect emission testing, it doesn't amount to a "defeat device" under EU law. 


telmo744    on 21 February 2017

For them at VW there are no customers in Europe.
Only regulations and laws, but they seem not very sorry for breaking them.

Bottom line: quality, trust and compliance are words VW ignore and repel.

Tenchman7    on 21 February 2017

This so-called 20 minute fix has ruined the driving experience of many owners cars and mpg figures are worse for it!
EGR valves are failing soon after on many models too and customers are reporting noisey engines/lack of torque and cars failing to start!.
These cars have been adjusted outside of their design specifications and VW say no case to answer too?
Not good enough Mr Paul Willis.......................................T7.

   on 22 February 2017

I have a 2013 A4 Advant, and shortly after I had issues of an engine management light coming on. Luckily my Father-in-law has a code reader (and saved me expense). This seemed to be an egr fault. I eventually overcame this by changing the air filter. I hope this doesn't keep reoccurring! I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has experienced similar issues after the "upgrade".

Stanb Sevento    on 22 February 2017

All car makers " gamed " the emissions test and pump out more NOx on the road than they should. It will take the courts to determine what VW did was illegal or not. What I find even worse than the cheating is the way VW is persuading their customers to have a poorly developed fix done to their cars that is clearly detrimental in many ways simply to help get them off the hook. Forcing dealers to lie to their customers, " You are the first we have seen with a problem ", this is unforgivable for me. I currently own my 12th VW, all bought new over 35 years but there will not be a 13th.

   on 22 February 2017

My car has not been the same since the last service I drive a golf 1.6tdi. I believe a fix was done on my car without my consent but vw say that they don't do a fix without the customers approval although I have read otherwise. My car has less torque and is noisier like a droning noise with less acceleration.

A. D

peter elvin    on 23 February 2017

The emissions fix has ruined my VW Tiguan it is now noisy, rattles at 1500 - 2000rpm and performance is poor. The noise is like a blowing exhaust / like a growling sports exhaust. I bought my car brand new and have only done 26k miles and it ran lovely and smooth up until the emissions fix. It has been back 3 times to Parkway VW who keep fobbing me off saying I am the only one who has complained about a rattling and noisy engine. I am selling mine and won't buy another VW and as for Mr Willis and the rest of the VW staff who are being forced to lie to us I don't know how they can lie in bed at night. Some staff look embarrassed but I guess they would get the sack if they told us the truth.Peter E.

co2blues    on 23 February 2017

So, after months of VW/Audi advising "affected customers" that their EA189 engines will be fixed "by the end of 2016" Willis now expects us to believe him when he says there was "no defeat devise fitted to these cars".
So, mr Willis, perhaps you could tell us why the German authorities took so many months to clear the modifications you now want to inflict on us - if it really is only "a technical fix" as you say.
And what exactly is this "technical fix" and what exactly does it do ?
You state that with this fix the cars will comply so by definition they do not comply at present.
So, how do they currently not comply ? - comply with what ? Emissions regulations maybe ???
I'd like to sell my Audi and walk away from these devious little s***s but who would want to buy a car made by a company that lies through its teeth.
I thought that when this scandal broke, VAG would do everything it could to regain the trust of its customers but that has not been the case and this latest outburst by Willis is akin to being told to p*** off.
How to destroy a brand in a matter of months - by VW/Audi (should be a best seller)

Manbatius    on 23 February 2017

Well I have lost at least 6mpg since the remap, idle is a little but louder as well. So.... not sure where the fuel economy being the same has came from. Lies as usual.

Paul Colmer    on 24 February 2017

My 64 plate CC put the engine warning light on and the dsg was rough following the first "update" after the second attempt it run rougher , made a "pinking noise" and was down on power lower in the rev range , however mpg did not alter. On recommendation I went to a chip tuning company. They advised part of the VW fix is to reduce torque lower down the rev range , where emmssions are tested . Since having the box fitted the engine is smoother , more powerful and improved mpg. However after the attitude of VW the CC is going and i am going back to Ford.
Purely as i think VW`s attitude to UK buyers stink. Lovely car ruined by manufacturers shirking responsibility. As an aside I had to send rude email to even get reply about remap.

Douglas Hutchison    on 25 February 2017

Paul, what do you mean by 'box'? I have just had the emissions software update completed this week and the car has today dropped power and the engine coil light is on perm basis. any advide would be gratefully received. cheers Dougie

glidermania    on 26 February 2017

Wow, car goes into test mode in a test, big deal. VW's crime in the US is when confronted with the fact, they tried to cover it up instead of saying "Yes, the car goes into "test mode" when tested."

   on 4 March 2017

Basically VW are digging a big hole for themselves.

I contacted the VW emissions department over 4 weeks ago regarding my 2015 Touran 1.6TDI. It was left in to VW at the start of January and my monthly driving has always been the same since I we owned the car and now the mpg has drop from 40 - 34 mpg since the alterations ??. They may have sorted out there cars environmental controls to keep the euro regulations happy but in sorting out the fix it has cost drivers an extra 10 - 20% in running fuel costs. It should be about time that we all stand together to have this rectified by VW as surely VW mpg figures are now misleading and false. I find it hard to believe that there customer support is slipping.

jacko jackson    on 9 March 2017

I think the VW group should replace all current cars affected by this scam with 2LTR petrol unit FOC. I think then everyone would be happy. lets face it it was the British Government, and our European neighbours who convinced us many years ago that diesel cars were safe, well, we all know that was also a LIE

I would wager a bet if it was the U.K. that had commited this scam were would have been taken to the cleaners its an absolute disgrace.

I have been in touch with my Local M.P. and had a letter from Chris Grayling, however, I wouldn't hold your breath for their help in seeking compensation.

My 2013 RLINE Tiguan has lost approximately 4k since the scandal broke EXPLAIN THAT MR WILLIS YOU DISGRACEFUL LIAR.

Richard Haslam-Jones    on 17 March 2017

I had my 2009 VW TDI Golf 'upgraded' by Lookers in January and within a few weeks I was having problems with the engine management system and the engine was switching to safe mode with almost total loss of power. I complained to Lookers about their work and received no help with getting the car taken to their workshop to be fixed; they said the problem had nothing to do with the upgrade but they would look at it and I would have to pay. It seemed that I would probably have to get the car fixed at a suitable workshop and recover the costs from them through the Courts.I also complained officially to Lookers Headquarters and VW Headquarters about their treatment and pointed out the number of reports on the internet about the many VWs' that had suffered in the same way as mine. My local garage and an AA road man used their diagnosis computers and confirmed there was a problem with the exhaust boost damper; probably as a result of the recent 'upgrade' to the engine management system and it would cost a lot to fix it. Then things began to improve when Looker's manager contacted me to say they would like to check the car for themselves and if the fault was associated with the upgrade they would look for an amicable solution. They fixed the car in return for a small nominal payment and since then the car has been absolutely fine. VW public relations also contacted me to check I was satisfied. I told VW they should be more honest about the possible likely consequences of their 'upgrade' before getting their customers' agreement to carry out the 'upgrade'. If Lookers/VW had responded more honestly and positively at the start I would not have wasted two weeks chasing them about a problem that was almost entirely of their own making. I have owned VW Diesel Golfs for over thirty years and I had always been treated honestly and fairly by them until this episode.

Edited by Richard Haslam-Jones on 17/03/2017 at 17:50

Mark Hannan    on 25 March 2017

My 2010 Golf 20tdi has had multiple EGR engine lights come on, DPF faults and poor economy since the upgrade. It was running like a dream before the upgrade.
What should I do?

Fran Rayner    on 27 March 2017

My 2010 Tiguan was booked to have the update done next week, but following all these posts of issues I have cancelled.
I checked and there is no time limit as to when you can get it done. I'm waiting until there is a more reliable fix in place. But a word of warning, if your car is in a dealer for any other work, they will automatically do the emissions update at the same time, unless you sign a disclaimer saying you don't want it done.

Stanb Sevento    on 30 March 2017

Worth a read
VW still say there is no detriment to our cars. Come clean VW.

   on 1 April 2017

I've been without out my 60 plate golf for 4 weeks since the upgrade. I contacted the main vw number from the recall letter and after hours of being on hold days of waiting for call backs & plenty of tears they have agreed to look at it for free but it is a slow & painful process. All I want to do is get the car back running & sell it to cut my losses. It's out of order they can damage your car then expect you to pay them to fix it. I have told everyone's I know not to take their car for this recall.

   on 3 May 2017

I had the 'adjustment' to my Golf 1.6 bluemotion which was carried out by JCT600 and since then I have been driving a different car. I thought it was just me until speaking with my father this morning that The Mail had been reporting on other drivers having issues since the adjustment. Warning lights, loss of power, sluggish, sounding like an old diesel car. My pre-glow engine light was flashing this morning which indicates 'malfunction in the diesel engine' WHAT????? My car ran like a dream before it's a 61 plate, I'm the 2nd owner, full service hstory with less than 30k on the clock. Should I take it up with JCT600? VW? Get an independent to check my car at my expense???

   on 14 August 2017

I have had a long running battle with VW regarding this.
I believe my 2011 2.0TDI passat has lost power since the update. Ive been back and fourth on the phone to head office who tell me there is no evidence of power loss.
They then said my complaint had gone to the emissions team and they would be in touch within two weeks, after 2 months I had nothing back.
I then email stating I would be taking legal advice and I had a phone call within two hours telling me to take the car in for a diagnostic test, they had previously told me this is not required!
I battled with the guy on the phone and told him a diagnostic test will not tell us that I have lost power and would only tell us if something was not working correctly, he did not understand this!! I explained I would take it on a rolling road if they want me to prove it.
Anyway, I took it for the diagnostic and nothing was found! I then got in touch with VW who have now said the case is closed, nothing they can do and theres nothing wrong with the car.
I dont have clear paper evidence there is but Its highly likely, I tried talking to them about how many of the VW customers cant be wrong and they should listen, they had no answer!
A letter shortly after arrived from VW giving an in depth explanation to the fix, Nox, injectors and all that and that theres no evidence and all that!
I give up, VW are nothing but liars!

This was all along side my clutch pressure plate snapped at 55k miles which VW agreed was a defective part but they wouldn't do anything as I took it else where for the repair. At the time we thought it was the dual mass flywheel, everything had to be replaced though. And... the broken pressure plate ended up scoring its way through the gear box housing, 4mm further and the engine oil would have come in to flywheel housing!

And... my old man bought a Tiguan 13 plate 12 months ago... knocking injectors appeared after the update, back to VW 5 times, they some how made it better with 'another' update, still not right though!

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