Such a decision would cost the automaker billions of euros.
After agreeing to pay over $15 billion (13.6 billion euros) in multiple settlements in the United States, Volkswagen Group could be on the hook for its emissions-cheating diesel engines in Europe, too. European Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska thinks consumers there deserve just as much restitution as owners in the U.S.
"Volkswagen should voluntarily pay European car owners compensation that is comparable with that which they will pay U.S. consumers," Bienkowska told Welt am Sonntag, Reuters reports. "Treating consumers in Europe differently than U.S. consumers is no way to win back trust.”
Such an agreement in Europe could mean billions more in payouts for VW. The automaker’s settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice includes over $10 billion to buy back vehicles with the cheating 2.0-liter diesel engine. Depending on a vehicle’s age and mileage, owners could get $12,500 to $44,000 for their vehicle (11,300 to 40,000 euros at current rates). People with leases can opt to have the agreement terminated or wait for the still undetermined repair.
Separately, VW must invest 4.7 billion in environmental cleanup and to improve the infrastructure for zero-emissions vehicles. The automaker also agrees to pay a total of $603 million to 44 states to settle consumer protection claims.
Europe's lighter regulations concerning nitrogen oxide emissions versus the U.S mean that VW can perform software upgrade to repair vehicles there. The recall as been going slow, though. At the end of May, a report from the automaker indicated it had fixed just 50,000 European cars out of 8.5 million that need the updated code.