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VW boss called a liar by MPs after giving emission scandal evidence

Paul Willis

Volkswagen Group UK boss Paul Willis was branded a liar yesterday after giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee.

Paul Willis (pictured) was making his third appearance since the start of the emissions scandal in 2015.

Willis denied VW misled UK customers - and said there was no legal basis for giving them compensation.

He told the committee: “You cannot compare the situation in Europe to that in the United States.”

Willis said there had been no change in fuel consumption and, from all the data he had seen, there had been no detrimental effect to the residual value of vehicles.

“We have never ever sold cars on the basis of nitrogen oxide levels in the UK; we did not mislead anybody in the UK.”

The ‘fixes’ being conducted on some 1.2 million Volkswagen, Seat, Audi and Skoda cars in the UK, he said, were simply being conducted to put customers minds at rest – there was essentially “nothing to fix”.

However, in what one MP described as akin to “Alice in Wonderland”, Willis claimed the company was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

The ‘fixes’ being conducted on some 1.2 million Volkswagen, Seat, Audi and Skoda cars in the UK, he said, were simply being conducted to put customers minds at rest – there was essentially “nothing to fix”.

He also insisted VW had given everything they had been asked for by the Department for Transport (DfT), including paying £1.1 million for the re-testing of VW Group vehicles by the DfT in the wake of the scandal.

However, transport minister John Hayes, who appeared in front of the committee immediately after Willis, called the UK managing director’s evidence “extraordinary”.

VW Group’s “curious inability to recognise their own failure little short of ridiculous”, he said.

Willis’s claim the VW Group had provided everything that the DfT had asked for was “not true”, he said.

Requests for the ‘fix’ on effected cars to come with a warranty and compensation for owners had “not been forthcoming”, he said.

In addition, Hayes said the total cost of re-testing vehicles, including non-VW Group cars, had been £2m and the manufacturer had only covered the cost of testing Audi, Seat, Volkswagen and Skoda cars – some £1.1m – despite requests to pay the larger amount.

“It would be entirely inaccurate to say everything we asked for has been provided,” Hayes said.

In reaction to Willis’s evidence, committee member Graham Stringer MP told Hayes: “I have sat on select committees for 20 years and I have never seen somebody come along and blatantly lie to a committee; I’ve seen all sorts of evasive witnesses but I think we’ve just seen somebody tell us absolute blatant lies.”

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  • Iceage - 21/02/2017 13:16

    Lock him up

  • Kel - 21/02/2017 15:27

    If you call someone a liar in the House of Commons the Speaker would have you thrown out It is a fact that the United States emission regulations are more strict than in Europe and probably non existent in much of the rest of the World If someone can kindly tell me where all these cheap used Volkswagens are we will be off to buy them today !

  • Peter Kinnon - 22/02/2017 09:26

    I worked directly for Paul Willis a number of years ago, and have never found him to be dishonest in any way. Integrity and credibility of facts are two of his main attributes in my experience. It is quite interesting to read these claims of dishonesty from MPs?! Equally, I know that there are honest and less honest people serving the UK public.

  • Alex - 27/02/2017 09:14

    Peter & Kel, if you go back to Paul Willis first appearance in front of the house he openly holds his hands up and says that VW have miss-led its he is trying to orchestrate a U-turn from that statement. Hardly a show of integrity Aside from that, I do feel the main issue is being completely over looked. VW knowingly sold vehicles to customers that put very simply were not sold as described. The issue of vehicle value and emissions, although important, should not be the main focus. If a vehicle is advertised as having x y and z then it should have just that, if at the point of sale it does not have that then no matter how you sugar coat it VW have falsely advertised their product.

  • clive matthews - 28/02/2017 18:37

    **edited for legal reasons** May I encourage all owners to join the fight against VW to help UK owners get the compensation they deserve.