Calls to compensate VW drivers worldwide

Volkswagen's Germany headquarters (AAP file)
Volkswagen's Germany headquarters (AAP file)

The European Commission says Volkswagen should compensate all drivers affected by the diesel emissions scandal.

Volkswagen has reached a US$15 billion (NZ$22 billion) settlement in the United States. The car maker will buy back affected vehicles in the US and pay each owner between US$5000 and US$10,000.

But owners in New Zealand, Europe and other the rest of the world won't receive cash compensation. Instead VW says it will fix their vehicles.

VW New Zealand says the US emissions standards are six times more stringent, so VW in the United States cannot use the software fix that is being rolled out in New Zealand.

European drivers face the same situation.

Is it fair to treat US drivers differently than everyone else?

The European Commissioner does not think so.

In a statement to Reuters Elzbieta Bienkowska said, "European consumers have been cheated in the same way as US customers, so it is only fair to offer comparable compensation without hiding behind legal arguments."

"I remain convinced that the best way to restore consumer trust is to treat them fairly, without the need for class action threats."

It is not just the rules for emission-control devices that differ in the US from Euope and New Zealand.

The legal system differs too.

US vehicle owners could take a class action lawsuit.

Some lawyers argue that VW should offer compensation to European customers too.

But VW Europe has so far argued that European drivers have not suffered a loss of value in their cars because the software fix will meet European laws. It says there is no issue with driveability and fuel consumption.

The British government has previously said there could be grounds for legal action if evidence emerges that customers have suffered a fall in the residual value of their cars or issues arise concerning vehicle performance.

Toyota has launched a global recall. But the situation is very different to Volkswagen.

Toyota New Zealand is recalling 36,961 new and used import Toyota and Lexus models due to a possible fault that could cause a fuel leak.

It is part of a global recall.

The fault involves a charcoal canister fitted to fuel tank.

Toyota says the vehicles are being recalled due to the possibility the canister fixed to the fuel tank could develop a crack. If it cracks it has the potential to expand and cause a minor leak when the fuel tank is full.

The recall which extends to 2,867,816 vehicles worldwide affects the Toyota Corolla/Auris, Prius, Prius PHV, SAI and Lexus CT200h, HS 205h models manufactured between 2006 and 2015.

The charcoal canister serves to prevent fuel emissions being released into the atmosphere.

There have been no reported cases of this fault occurring in New Zealand.

The free fix takes 2 - 3 hours.

Toyota is contacting owners, but concerned customers can call 0800 TOYOTA (0800 869 682).