Global vehicle giant Volkswagen, the company that unleashed one of the greatest motoring scandals of all time on consumers across the globe with its Dieselgate emissions cheating devices, has agreed to further compensate Canadian motorists whilst continuing to snub Australians that have been affected by the same scandal.
In a proposed further settlement, Volkswagen Group Canada and Audi Canada have offered to pay more than CAD$290m to resolve class action claims on behalf of 20,000 affected 3.0L diesel Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche branded vehicles.
The compensation will include buybacks, repairs and restitution payments in addition to a CAD$2.9m fine to be paid to the regulator. This follows the earlier Canadian Court approved settlement in respect of 105,000 affected Canadian 2.0L diesel vehicles whereby Volkswagen and Audi agreed to pay CAD $2.1 billion to motorists and a CAD $15m fine.
In announcing the settlement, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada, Daniel Weissland, is quoted in a media statement as saying: “This is an important milestone for making things right for all of our customers with affected diesel vehicles in Canada.”
Paradoxically, the German vehicle manufacturer’s parent company VWAG, along with Volkswagen Group Australia – which is under the leadership of CEO Michael Bartsch, also formerly the CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada – refuse to agree to any compensation deal for the equivalent 100,000 or so affected Australian 2.0L diesel vehicles, which contain the same emissions cheating software.
Jason Geisker, class action principal at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, which is representing thousands of affected Australian Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda motorists in an Australian class action, said there is simply no credible excuse for Volkswagen to continue to refuse compensation for Australia motorists, particularly as VW profited from its decade long deception.
“Promptly apologising and compensating Canadians and Americans whilst paying millions of dollars to defence lawyers here in Australia to defend exactly the same conduct is simply deplorable.
“In its smokescreen attempts to justify shocking double standards, Volkswagen seeks to hide behind carefully worded and formulaic statements about differences in emissions standards around the world.
“But let’s clear the air. The deception of testing authorities and cheating on emissions tests was always prohibited, both in the US and elsewhere around the world including Canada and Australia. So until Volkswagen is prepared to admit and accept responsibility for its deceptive conduct and compensate affected motorists accordingly it will continue to lack credibility and will further damage its already sullied reputation,” said Jason.
Dieselgate no barrier to record sales
Internationally, Volkswagen has really bounced back from the dieselgate scandal by recording an annual production record of more than six million vehicles. The company builds cars at more than 50 factories in 14 countries, with its most popular models in 2017 globally being Jetta, Golf, Santana, Passat and Polo.
VW has built more than 150m vehicles in the past 72 years and its product portfolio now stretches to more than 60 models.
But despite rising production and sales, the dieselgate scandal still rumbles on more than two years later with the company petitioning Germany’s constitutional court in a bid to block the appointment of an independent auditor to probe its behaviour.
Meanwhile, Toyota has stopped selling diesel cars in Italy. The world’s biggest car maker has suspended sales of diesel Yaris, Auris and RAV4 models, to concentrate on its cleanest petrol and hybrid models. It will, however, continue to sell Hilux and Land Cruiser models as diesels.
Toyota Italy is offering incentives of up to €7000 on trade-ins of old diesels for a new Toyota hybrid. The company denies that VW’s dieselgate scandal has anything to do with the decision instead claiming that in 2017 oil-burners comprised just 6% of sales.
This ‘road well travelled’ has a definite end in sight
Travelling more than 1000 kilometeres from NSW to Queensland to pick up a new car might seem like a fair distance for some, but not for Peter Stephenson who recently took ownership of a brand new Ford Mustang GT all from being road smart and buying a set of new tyres.
Cooper Tires distributor Exclusive Tyre Distributors gave one lucky Australian the chance to win the highly sought after Ford Mustang GT to park in their garage. All the winner needed to do was purchase a set of Cooper Tires.
ETD’s Terry Smith reckons there’s few things better than cruising the open road in an iconic piece of automotive history like a V8 Mustang: “We are very excited for Peter, it’s not every day you win a car like this and we hope he enjoys it for many years to come.”
Terry was also pleased that Peter is one of the 45% of Australians who regularly check their vehicle’s tyres. Recent research indicates almost a third of the population are unaware that they need new tyres until it is too late, or rely on being told by someone else that they need to take action.
“Sixty-two percent of Australians have no idea, or are unsure, about how many kilometres they should usually get from their tyres. Cooper Tires is working hard to change this by helping consumers understand how to get engaged, check the facts and choose the right tyres for their specific needs,” said Terry.
For his part, Peter says that he has always kept an eye on the wear and tear of the tyres on every car he has owned to avoid getting into a situation that is easily avoidable.
“These days I don’t take any chances, especially when I have my grandson in the car. Safety is first and foremost,” he said.