16 May 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Clune urges the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (ICCPC) to conclude their investigation into Volkswagen Ireland and calls on VW to live up to its commitments to its Irish customers and begin compensating Irish car owners who have been effected by the emissions scandal.
Nearly 110,000 Irish cars are affected.
Ireland South Fine Gael MEP and member of the EU Transport committee Deirdre Clune – recently appointed a member of the Commission of Inquiry into the Volkswagen Emissions scandal – has called on Volkswagen to compensate its Irish customers, in the same way it has compensated its US customers.
“The crux of the matter is this. Volkswagen cheated its customers. It must now make amends by agreeing to a package of compensatory measures for its Irish customers. VW customers in the US are to receive compensation, in the form of a mass buyback of affected cars, as well as compensation and committing funds to promote green automotive technology.
“I am calling on Volkswagen Ireland to begin engaging with its Irish customers as to a similar scheme of compensation immediately. Volkswagen’s offer thus far has fallen short of what is expected from a responsible manufacturer. Their inaction in Europe is an affront to their loyal customers.
“In October 2015, the European Parliament called for a thorough investigation, following the news that many Volkswagen cars had a defeat device or software in diesel engines, that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. Volkswagen later admitted that about 11 million cars worldwide, including over eight million in Europe, are fitted with the so-called defeat device. Nearly 110,000 Irish cars are affected.
“The European Commission cannot force VW to compensate its European customers, leaving consumers with the only option being to go down a timely and potentially costly litigation route.
“I have been appointed to a 45-member Committee of Inquiry, which has been tasked with investigating the failings of the European Institutions, in uncovering the scandal.
“One of the key roles of the European Parliament is protection of European consumers. In this instance both Volkswagen and regulators failed them. We must ensure that Volkswagen does the right thing here and that customers are compensated accordingly.
“An interim report is due to be presented by the Inquiry within six months of starting its work, with a final report due in spring 2017. At the very least, the Commission owes it to consumers to ensure that a regulatory failure such as this does not happen again.
“The Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission opened a formal investigation into cars manufactured by Volkswagen Ireland. The Commission’s investigation will establish whether there has been a breach of consumer protection law in Ireland. It will consider whether or not the information provided to consumers was misleading and the impact on consumers. That investigation is ongoing however, in the meantime, the ICCPC have urged consumers who have been informed that their vehicles are affected to find and keep safe any sales documentation they have.”