If you’re a VW owner in America, you’ll have no problem getting compensated for the automaker’s emissions fraud, known as Dieselgate. You get a choice of a refund or an engine refit, combined with a compensation payment for your trouble. The process is smooth and speedy.
It’s a very different story in its home market Germany, where VW drivers are being forced to resort to lawsuits to get their money back. The automaker has refused expensive engine refits and has been painfully slow to provide even the promised software updates to cut toxic emissions.
Germany’s different legal system, which does not offer US-style class action lawsuits, has left German diesel owners empty-handed. The country’s Federal Motor Transport Authority only forced VW to update the engine software of 2.8 million manipulated diesel autos and remove the illegal code, which elevated toxic emissions on the road.
In the US on the other hand, VW paid out compensation to some 400,000 customers, according to the latest report by class action plaintiffs seen by Handelsblatt. That has so far cost the company some $7.4 billion. The report praised VW’s “effective and efficient” implementation of the refund program and said complaints over sluggish processing of claims were rare.