No payout for New Zealand's Volkswagen owners

There will be no compensation for Kiwi customers affected by last year's revelations the company cheated on diesel emissions tests, Volkswagen New Zealand's general manager says.

The comment follows a ginormous payout of US$21.7 billion to US Volkswagen owners that saw the company's American branch buy back vehicles embroiled in the scandal, and pay each customer up to $10,000 extra to compensate for their blunder.

According to lawyers, the hefty settlement makes it the largest automobile-related consumer class-action lawsuit in US history.

But Tom Ruddenklau says what's happening with Volkswagen in the US is different because car companies there face much more rigorous tests than in other countries.

"In the US, the emission regulations over there are up to six times more stringent than anywhere else in the world," he explained.

Mr Ruddenklau says due to the high standards, a remedy for the issue in the US has proved much more elusive, forcing them to buy the cars back.

"They actually haven't got a technical solution sorted for this issue yet, so because they haven't they're providing some compensation for customers.

"Thankfully here in New Zealand, we had our solution developed earlier this year, and we've started the rollout with customers, which is just a software update on the vehicles."

Mr Ruddenklau says because of the fairly easy fix, Kiwi customers would not be receiving any compensation from the company -- but said they have been "working really hard to be up front and honest" with affected Volkswagen owners.

"There's a technical issue, but there's also a relationship issue that you've got to deal with as well," he said.

"New Zealanders appreciate people being up front and just saying it how it is, so we've tried to keep them informed as best we can."

Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 to inserting a 'defeat device' in some of its vehicles that allowed it to circumvent diesel emission regulations.


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