VW's bizarre 'mea culpa' to car buyers: German giant says CO2 figures are probably wrong and offers to buy back vehicles
- Car-maker already bracing itself for thousands of compensation claims
- The 'mea culpa' is contained in a waiver document given to customers
- One person waiting for Audi A1 Sportback was told figures are inaccurate
Volkswagen has issued a bizarre apology to customers about to take delivery of a new car, admitting its own CO2 and fuel-consumption figures are wrong but failing to say how the situation can be rectified.
It comes as the German car-maker braces itself for thousands of compensation claims from angry motorists whose vehicles have fallen in value as a result of the emissions-cheating scandal.
The ‘mea culpa’ is contained in a waiver document which VW has told dealerships to give to customers when the vehicle is handed over. It follows the revelation that the falsification of test results affects more models than first thought.
Volkswagen has issued a bizarre apology to customers about to take delivery of an Audi A1 (pictured), admitting its own CO2 and fuel-consumption figures are wrong but failing to say how the situation can be rectified
In September, American investigators discovered that software designed to cheat tests for nitrogen oxide emissions had been fitted to 11 million diesel engines. But this month the crisis deepened after it emerged the company had understated carbon dioxide and miles-per-gallon figures on a further 800,000 petrol and diesel vehicles currently on sale, including other VW brands such as Audi, SEAT and Skoda.
One customer waiting to take delivery of a £17,000 Audi A1 Sportback in South London last week was told that the fuel economy and emission rates in the handbook and promotional material were inaccurate, despite the fact the vehicle had only just rolled off the production line.
When the customer asked about resale value, he received a letter from Volkswagen, saying: ‘The current CO2 and consumption values for this model are under review and may change. To the extent that CO2 values and fuel consumption are relevant for the purposes of tax, this increase might affect the amount of tax that is payable. The VW Group has informed the relevant government authorities of this issue.’
Vehicle excise duty is partly based on CO2 emission rates. If they were artificially lowered, the vehicles will not have contributed enough tax, leaving Volkswagen facing demands to repay billions of pounds, as well as compensation to motorists whose cars have fallen in value.
Last night a solicitor representing 10,000 potential claimants said anyone who bought an affected model in the past 30 days should demand a refund if the vehicle did not match the manufacturer’s description. Bozena Michalowska-Howells said: ‘It could be argued that the VW Group, by understating the CO2 emissions and claiming that the cars were environmentally friendly, have mis-sold their vehicles.’
Volkswagen UK said it could not comment ‘since our responses need to pass through’ the company’s German headquarters.
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