American Style Compensation Unlikely in Europe Says Muller

Last week Elzbieta Bienkowska argued that Volkswagen should “voluntarily provide European car owners with compensation that is comparable to what it is paying US customers,” and VW CEO Mattias Muller has said that would not be possible.

“Volkswagen is solid financially, but you don’t have to be a mathematician to see that damage payments in some arbitrary amount would even be too much for Volkswagen to cope with,” Muller told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Earlier this year Volkswagen set aside $18 billion to pay for the diesel scandal, and following the $15 billion settlement that Volkswagen and government regulators agreed to last week, not enough is left for similar compensation.

Furthermore, The Wall Street Journal estimates that compensation comparable to that paid in the US would cost the Wolfsburg company a minimum of €40 billion (about $45 billion). That’s because, there are roughly 9 million TDI owners in the Europe, as compared to only about 475,000 in the US.

On top of that, emissions laws in the states are much tougher than they are in Europe, making a fix simpler and the American punishment more severe.

“The legal basis in Europe is different from that in America. In Europe, consumer law and environmental law are irrelevant,” Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, head of the Center for Automotive Research in Duisburg told the Wall Street Journal.