Senators urge VW to expand diesel compensation, agree to buybacks

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 19, 2015 12:03 PM

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. senators urged Volkswagen AG <VOWG_p.DE> on Thursday to agree to buy back vehicles and offer compensation to drivers of all diesel vehicles that government regulators have charged have "defeat devices" to rig emissions standards.

U.S. Senators Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, both Democrats, wrote to VW's U.S. chief executive, Michael Horn, asking him to offer "more robust compensation for drivers of all VW vehicles purchased in the United States that contained defeat devices," the wrote.

"We specifically request that you immediately announce VW's willingness to to buy back these impacted vehicles," they wrote in the letter, which was seen by Reuters.

Last week, VW said it was offering $500 cash gift cards, $500 in dealer credit and three years of free roadside assistance to the 482,000 owners of 2.0-liter 2009-2015 diesel cars in which it has admitted it installed the defeat software.

VW said on Wednesday that 120,000 owners have signed up to take part in the program, which could cost VW at least $120 million.

The senators called that goodwill compensation offer "a pittance."

U.S. regulators also accused VW of installing different illegal software in at least 10,000 Porsche Cayenne, VW Touraeg and larger Audi SUVs and cars. VW has denied the allegations.

The senators also want VW to offer "fair market value" buybacks for the diesel vehicles - and argue owners should get the value of the vehicles before the relevations about the diesel cheating in mid-September. VW faces many U.S. lawsuits over the perceived reduction in market value of diesel vehicles.

VW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)