Matthias Mueller, the German businessman who has been the chief executive officer of Volkswagen AG since 25 September 2015, has rejected calls for the carmaker to compensate customers in Europe over the ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal along the lines of its $15 billion deal in the U.S., stating to a German newspaper a similar settlement would be inappropriate and unaffordable.
Recalling that he Justice Department’s announced earlier that Volkswagen had approved to pay $14.7 billion to resolve claims related to its diesel-emissions scandal.
Nevertheless, Europe’s Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska last week called on Volkswagen to further compensate European owners of its diesel-powered cars, adding that they should not be treated any different from U.S. customers for going under different laws.
“We have a different situation here (in Europe),” Matthias Mueller was quoted as saying by Welt am Sonntag.
Mueller also said while VW was on a solid financial footing, replicating the U.S. deal in Europe would be tough for VW to cope with financially.
“You don’t have to be a mathematician to realize that compensation at arbitrarily high levels would overwhelm Volkswagen,” he said.
Mueller said he had spoken to Bienkowska in Brussels this week about his views.
“In the U.S. the (emission) limits are stricter, which makes the fix more complicated. And taking part in the buyback is voluntary (for customers), which is not the case in Germany, for example,” he said.
Because the U.S. authorities are seeking to bring back as many cars as possible, VW also has to offer customers incentives, meaning the situation is not comparable, he added.