Volkswagen Canada won’t follow its U.S. counterpart and offer better bumper-to-bumper warranties in an effort to put the diesel emissions scandal behind it and entice consumers to move to utility and electric vehicles.
In the United States, the automaker said late Tuesday that the 2018 Tiguan and Atlas crossovers will come with a transferrable, six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. That compares with three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranties available across much of the rest of the industry, and it is longer than the five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranties also offered by most competitors.
But VW Canada spokesman Thomas Tetzlaff said warranty policy in Canada remains unchanged. “Canada will continue to offer the four-year/80,000-km comprehensive warranty on our full model lineup,” he said in an email.
Canadian diesel owners affected by the scandal are still waiting for an Ontario Superior Court hearing to approve the Volkswagen class action settlement was held over on March 31 because the presiding judge said the outlined proposal is “nowhere near” being in the best interests of consumers.
The proposed system for compensation would see owners of VW’s 2.0-litre TDI diesel-powered cars from the model years 2009 to 2015 receive Canadian Black Book value for their vehicle as of September 2015 – just before their market value was affected by news of the emissions scandal – plus additional damages ranging from $5,100 to $8,000.
Under the proposal, which was agreed upon by Volkswagen Canada and the counsel representing affected owners, VW’s projected total estimated payout would be $2.1 billion.
(Claims for cars with 3.0-litre TDI engines are not included in the settlement and have not yet been determined.)
Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba addressed his concerns by citing section 18.2 of Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act. Under it, because of Volkswagen’s demonstrated intentional misrepresentation of its diesel emissions, TDI owners would be legally entitled to a refund of their full original purchase price.
Lawyers representing both VW and the vehicle owners now need to demonstrate to Belobaba why it is fair and reasonable for the difference in payouts between purchase price and settlement compensation to be in the range of $10,000 or more.
Counsel on both sides committed to file the requested memorandum to Belobaba and the hearing will reconvene at a yet to be determined later date.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen Canada is working toward bolstering its utility vehicle lineup.
In early June, it will launch the Atlas in Canada. Tetzlaff described it as Volkswagen’s “first real seven-passenger SUV.”
In September, the new, 5+2 Tiguan lands at Canadian dealerships.
“Our lineup is filling out,” Tetzlaff said. “We are evaluating our options for even further SUV expansion, and a smaller vehicle based upon the T-Roc concept is high on the list. No commitment has been made yet, he said, but the company is working “diligently towards another SUV/CUV in the next year or two.”
Stephanie Wallcraft contributed to this report.