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Volkswagen offers US customers ‘goodwill’ package

Cash or card: US VW owners can apply for a small parcel of compensation that the company says will not affect the customer’s ability to sue the company later on.

Small compo package for US owners of EA189 2.0-litre cars as VW awaits fix ruling

Volkswagen logo10 Nov 2015

VOLKSWAGEN’S US operation has extended an olive branch to some – but not all – of its customers affected by the cheat code emissions-dodging scandal, proposing a small financial offering to owners of 2.0-litre diesel-powered cars.

The ‘Goodwill Package’ comprises a US$500 ($709) pre-paid credit card, a Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) ‘store credit’ to the same value, as well as an additional three years of free roadside assistance.

“Over the past several weeks, we’ve apologized (sic) to our loyal customers about the 2.0L TDI emissions issue. As we work tirelessly to develop a remedy, we ask for your continued patience,” said the company in a statement.

“Affected customers eligible for the Goodwill Package are not required to waive their rights or release their claims against VWGoA in order to receive the Package.”

It is estimated that more than 350 class actions are already under way against VWGoA.

The compensation package requires owners to fulfil a number of tasks, including logging the vehicle’s VIN, registering the mileage and verifying those details at a dealership before the package can be accessed.

The program covers only VW-branded vehicles released between 2009 and 2015 that contain the cheat code software. Some 482,000 vehicles in total have been identified by VW as being affected by the scandal.

If all eligible owners take up the offer, it would cost VW around US$500 million ($710 million), which will come from the head office’s $11 billion war chest.

The deal comes on top of a US$2000 ($3000) offer made by the company last month to existing owners of VWs towards the purchase of a new Volkswagen petrol or hybrid model.

Volkswagen Australia was unable to provide any comment in relation to the compensation issue.

The US arm of VW, meanwhile, is still awaiting approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency for a raft of proposed remedies for the affected vehicles. The fixes are dependant on the vehicle’s age, and may include both hardware and software changes for older cars.

Fixes for European customers’ vehicles have already been approved by the European Union, while VW Australia has issued a voluntary recall of affected vehicles as it awaits further instructions from head office.

"We are working tirelessly to develop an approved remedy for affected vehicles," VWGoA CEO Michael Horn said in a video statement. “In the meantime, we are providing this goodwill package as a first step towards regaining our customers' trust."

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