Why Volkswagen Drivers in Europe Are Still Waiting for a Diesel Emissions Deal

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Source:   —  April 23, 2016, at 0:02 AM

S., owners of millions of Volkswagen cars in Europe are still waiting for a settlement with the carmaker. Volkswagen had previously announced that a software fix on European cars could start in January, but repairs have still not begun.

Why Volkswagen Drivers in Europe Are Still Waiting for a Diesel Emissions Deal

While Volkswagen may have shown progress in resolving its diesel emissions issue for about 500.000 cars in the U. S., owners of millions of Volkswagen cars in Europe are still waiting for a settlement with the carmaker.

Volkswagen had previously announced that a software fix on European cars could start in January, but repairs have still not begun. Meanwhile, Volkswagen customers in Europe are still waiting for news about whether the company will also compensate them.

"The fixes were supposed to be starting in Jan and it's presently April," Bozena Michalowska, an attorney in London with law firm Leigh Day, which represents some of those VW owners, told ABC News. "Our clients perceive that they're being treated with contempt."

Yesterday, U. S. District Ct Judge Charles Breyer announced a settlement for owners of 482.000 VW models with two-liter diesel engines dating back to two thousand nine. U. S. Volkswagen owners and the Justice Dept filed suit against the automaker after it said in Sept that 600.000 of its cars in the U. S. have software that can cheat emissions tests. Volkswagen said about eleven million cars worldwide are affected, of which several million are in Europe.

Michalowska said she's been contacted by more than 9.500 Volkswagen drivers in the U. K. and may file a lawsuit in the coming weeks.

"Volkswagen'south proposal to purchase back vehicles in the U. S. only will only create U. K.-based vehicle owners perceive worse," she said. "Why are vehicle owners in the U. K. being treated differently? If anything, this will only strengthen their resolve to pursue redress."

Though Judge Breyer didn't proposal specifics yesterday, he said the settlement will comprise the option for U. S. owners to have the automaker purchase back their vehicles. The full details of the map will be made public in June. Lawyers are still negotiating what to do with another 90.000 Volkswagen cars in the U. S. with three-liter diesel engines that also have the cheating software, The Associated Press reported.

"The majority of our clients chose their cars because of its environmental credentials," Michalowska said. "They're mad and believe that they've been lied to."

Volkswagen didn't reply to a request for comment.

Why the delay for its biggest customer base: Europe?

"The explanation likely lies in the fact that VW has much more to fear from an institutional perspective from U. S. authorities than they do European governments," said Sebastiaan van Doorn, associate Prof at Warwick Business School in the U. K.

While the U. S. has higher emissions standards, it could also levy heavy penalties or stricter recall procedures, van Doorn said. In Europe, potential arrangements may be more scattered, due to the differences between countries, he added.

Van Doorn said Volkswagen'south cash position and cash flow won't realistically be able to compensate American and European drivers equally. While the U. S. deal concerns around half a million vehicles, a similar deal in Europe would've to cater to about seven to eight million vehicles, he said.

"It seems that Volkswagen believes that by satisfying U. S. authorities they get the sting out of the scandal, and they probably will succeed in that from a valid perspective," he said. "That, however, doesn't imply that the aftertaste of the anticipated unequal arrangements for U. S. and European customers won't linger and translate into sales slumps in years to arrive in their necessary European home market."

ABC News' Jeffrey Cook contributed to this report.

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