Volkswagen diesel emission scandal update: $1000 in gift cards and vouchers for car owners

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Volkswagen small diesel-powered car owners are entitled to $1,000 worth in gift cards and vouchers as the car company seeks to regain their customers’ trust after confessing to rigging more than 11 million of their vehicles worldwide with software that makes it appear as if the cars are compliant with United States emissions standards, USA Today reports.

The goodwill offering is divided into two $500 cards: a $500 Visa debit card to be spent at the holder’s discretion; and the other, a $500 dealership credit to be used in availing services at VW dealerships, such as an oil change. The offer also includes three years of free roadside assistance to owners of the diesel cars. VW’s efforts to placate their customers have no strings attached.

This was confirmed in an email to USA Today by Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan, saying, “There are no stipulations.”

Acceptance of the offer will in no way prohibit the car owners from taking part in any class-action or individual suit against the company, or exclude them from any future compensation.

Fox News quotes a statement from VW’s U.S. CEO, Michael Horn, “We are working tirelessly to develop an approved remedy for affected vehicles. In the meantime we are providing this goodwill package as a first step towards regaining our customers’ trust.”

Not only is the offer designed to appease the affected owners, it is also a means to boost the car dealers who, as yet, are inhibited from selling vehicles which have the reported software or even those pre-owned ones until a solution is arrived at.

According to US News, 482,000 owners of diesel Volkswagens and Audis in the U.S. have been “in limbo” since the middle of September when the scandal broke out. Apparently, the software installed in the cars concerned turns on pollution controls during emission tests but turn them off when the car is driven on the road, meaning that, during all these vehicles’ sojourns on the road, emissions of nitrogen oxide exceed normal and safe limits. The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that cars with the 2-liter 4-cylinder diesel engines emit from 10 up to 40 times the allowable amount while being driven. 

There are 11 million VW cars worldwide fitted with the software. The company is in the process of recalling 2009 to 2015 model year vehicles across Europe which come up to about 8.5 million. 

According to the Transport Ministry in Germany, as Fox News reveals, there are 540,000 of 2.4 million recalled cars in Germany which need the hardware and software fixes. It says that Volkswagen will be informing the owners concerned.