Volkswagen Compensation for Americans

DieselGate #2: VW’s First Try To Fix Flops

VW needs to be hit with the regulatory equivalent of a tire iron: VW’s first whack at the Big Fix of its dirty diesels in Germany quickly ran into a wall. VW wanted German owners to “self-identify” and contact dealers. No offer to compensate! The German government sent that self-serving idea to the scrap heap. It would have only reduced claims and lowered labor costs.

What about the Big Fix needed for the 500,000 VW diesel engines whose emissions in the USA are 40 times more than EPA standards? At the moment the pollution continues and diesel owners are roadblocked from taking next steps. No doubt regulators are hearing from VW lobbyists asking for soft terms. Some suggestions:

1-Consumer comp for loss of dollar value: Practically speaking, resale or trade-in value of the VW dirty diesels is now close to zero. Using the resale value of a 2009-2015 auto on the day before VW admitted wrongdoing, VW should offer either that amount as trade-in value for a new VW or 75% of it as payment for a VW re-purchase of the used cars.

2-Incentive for repairing the car: The Big Fix could stick owners with a VW whose performance is diminished. Others may choose (in many states) to legally not fix their VWs. VW should pay an incentive of $5,000 for bringing in the car.

3-Punitive damages: Ongoing environmental harm will continue until VW comes up with and implements an approved Big Fix plan approved by the EPA, the Department of Justice and states with environmental standards higher than the EPA. High punitive damages would set a cautionary example for other corporations with ongoing histories of pollution (like General Electric’s pollution of the Hudson River) to clean up their acts.

4-No tax write-offs for VW wrongdoing: VW must agree to not write off any punitive damages on its corporate business taxes. (See my past posts on this subject. The Leahy bill to outlaw punitive damages as corporate tax deductions remains in the deep freeze of the Senate Finance Committee.)

5-Jail time for executives: The Department of Justice recently promised to jail high-level executives for wrongdoing. Are there better candidates than VW execs who knew?

6-Daily fine incentive: Federal agencies can levy daily fines to quicken required corporate actions. Until the American Big Fix begins, a fine of $100 dollars a day for each registered VW dirty diesel might  speed things up.

7-New VW Motto: Change the VW motto from Das Auto to Das Fixen.


DieselGate #3 will appear soon with actions American VW diesel owners should do next. Sign up for my blog to get it.




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