VW admitting liability in the U.S. but not in the EU is inexcusable
VW are doing better with admitting liability nowadays… well, in the U.S. they are!
On 10th March, VW pleaded guilty in the U.S. over the ‘dieselgate’ scandal. However, it doesn’t reflect their position in Europe. NY Times states that the ‘troubles may be just beginning’ on the continent, and we agree.
Ultimately though, victims here in the U.K. are being denied access to justice, yet our U.S. counterparts are receiving damages.
VW has maintained its stubborn (to say the least) position by not admitting liability in Europe. The German automaker faces an expanding criminal inquiry along with thousands of consumer lawsuits demanding redress. We have group actions here in the U.K. and on the continent.
The cheating emissions have also affected other businesses; a German seafood supplier claims that they were also tricked into believing they were buying eco-friendly by shipping shrimp and cod to market in a fleet of VW “clean diesel” vehicles.
Potential fines and costs in Europe
The cost of the multiple lawsuits across Europe remains unknown; however, some may argue that it could be more than the U.S.; as there are far more affected vehicles in Europe than in the U.S. In the U.K. alone, there are around 1.2 million of the “dirty diesels”. The fines and settlement agreements imposed by U.S. regulators and authorities already total to around $22 (£17) billion.
The tough approach from the U.S. may have been as result of the American government clamping down on corporate wrongdoing. This was following the lax attitude of the government on Wall Street after the 2008 financial crisis. Obama’s Justice Department pushed to hold more companies and corporate executives accountable for their wrongdoing in the final months of Obama’s administration.
Is VW remorseful?
VW say they’re remorseful for their behaviour:
“VW deeply regrets the behaviour that gave rise to the diesel crisis. The agreements that we have reached with the U.S. government reflect our determination to address misconduct that went against all of the values VW holds so clear.”
I don’t believe that they’re remorseful or regretful for their actions; they’re just sorry they got caught. The proof of this is in the fact that U.K. and European victims remain without offers for compensation, and are left with a simple denial of liability.
Earlier in the week, consumer protection authorities in multiple EU countries agreed to combine efforts to place huge pressure on VW to compensate their consumers.
Reasons for not admitting liability in Europe?
There are multiple reasons why VW hasn’t admitted liability for the “defeat device”, but their key argument is that they say the “defeat device” is not a “defeat device” in Europe. So, it is in America, but not in Europe?
An embarrassing argument.
The pressure is on…
VW can continue to deny liability, but this has not stopped affected owners from taking action against the cheating automaker. The combined efforts of consumers, lawyers, consumer action groups and regulators will most certainly put pressure on VW in Europe. All the evidence is piling against the automaker. They’ve deceived their consumers for years and it’s time that they compensated their consumers for the whole cheating scandal.