Volkswagen and Audi fold for Canadian emissions scandal customers but still ignore Australian customers.

15 January 2018
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 while 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 the 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,” Mr Geisker said.

“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.”

Practice Areas: