Dieselgate: time to compensate all European consumers
September 2015: the Dieselgate scandal explodes as it becomes clear that the Volkswagen group has misled their customers for years by selling them cars that polluted way more NOx than they promised.
Letter to Blackrock and DWS Group
16 October, Euroconsumers announced it has reached out to two important investors of Volkwagen’s (VW) in its ongoing battle to fight for compensation for European consumers affected by the Dieselgate scandal. In the letter to Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock and Dr. Asoka Woehrmann, CEO of DWS Group, Euroconsumers asked them if they agreed with Volkswagen decision to not compensate all affected European consumers.
This letter comes on the heels of their firm’s recent votes to not approve several members of VW’s management board at its annual meeting. Blackrock, VW’s fourth-largest shareholder, has been highly critical of VW’s handling of Dieselgate and their current governance structure. This outreach follows our ongoing attempts at dialogue with VW.
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5 year Anniversary
18 September 2020, marks the five year anniversary of the Dieselgate scandal. In 2015, the public learned that Volkswagen (VW) had illegally installed software technology that artificially lowered nitrogen oxide emission readings in vehicles during the emissions testing process. This fraud has impacted consumers’ rights, public health and the environment across the EU and beyond.
The majority of European Dieselgate victims affected have, to this day, not received compensation. Ongoing class actions launched by Euroconsumers national organisations in 2016, in Belgium (Test Achats) Spain (OCU) , Italy (Altroconsumo) and Portugal (Deco Proteste) are pending.
Given the recent decision of VW to settle out-of-court with the German consumer organisation VZBV, we believe that all European citizens impacted by Dieselgate deserve financial redress and justice now and need to be treated equally,with the same respect as German consumers.
Euroconsumers has sought to engage in dialogue with VW. We sent four letters to VW’s Board of Directors (27 April, 22 May, 25 June); they finally responded by letter on 15 July 2020 that said the following:
“We would like to start by informing you, that all EA 189 type diesel vehicles have been, and still are, absolutely safe and technically roadworthy...having said that, we trust you will understand that we cannot accept your request to compensate customers in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Portugal, in view of the on-going court proceedings in these countries. Moreover, customers have not incurred any loss or damage.”
This letter is not only false and misleading in its claims, it once again demonstrates that VW does not view all European consumers equally. Having largely benefited from the single EU market, with this behaviour VW is infringing its basic rules putting it at serious risk. VW’s unethical and illegal behaviour is not acceptable and the company should be held accountable before the law.
Euroconsumers will not rest until VW compensates all European consumers affected by Dieselgate. Accepting responsibility for their actions and compensating all European victims is the only way for VW to close the grubby Dieselgate chapter.