DETROIT — Volkswagen Group of America expanded its diesel-emissions compensation program on Monday to owners of the 2009-'16 Volkswagen Touareg TDI SUV powered by the automaker's 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine. The move is designed to appease disgruntled consumers who are still waiting for a recall fix.
"As we work hard to develop remedies that will satisfy our customers and regulators, we kindly ask for your patience," wrote Volkswagen of America president and CEO Michael Horn in a letter to affected customers. "We sincerely hope you see this goodwill gesture as a first step toward restoring your invaluable trust."
Owners of the SUVs will receive a $500 Volkswagen Prepaid Visa Loyalty Card, a $500 Volkswagen dealership card and 24-hour roadside assistance at no charge for three years.
On the eve of the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, Volkswagen AG CEO Matthias Muller said technical solutions for the diesel-emissions problem are ready for Europe and will be implemented beginning this month.
"Volkswagen is working intensively on solutions for its U.S. customers," Muller said in a statement.
He added: "We know we deeply disappointed our customers, the responsible government bodies and the general public here in the U.S. I apologize for what went wrong at Volkswagen. We are totally committed to making things right."
The goodwill program initially was offered only to 482,000 owners of Volkswagen's 2.0-liter diesel cars from the 2009-'15 model years.
The package still does not include a buy-back option for affected consumers, something that some lawmakers and consumer advocates have been seeking.
Some U.S. lawmakers, including Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) criticized the original Goodwill package that was introduced last fall as "insultingly inadequate" and a "fig leaf attempting to hide the true depths of Volkswagen's deception."
VW in November added more cars to the list affected by the diesel-emissions scandal, admitting it did not disclose emissions-control problems in another 80,000 vehicles, including the Touareg.
The affected diesel vehicles have illegal "defeat devices" that violate U.S. pollution regulations.
The German automaker said Touareg customers are not required to waive their rights or release or arbitrate their claims against VW in order to receive the package.
The package is available only to registered owners or lessees as of November 8, 2015 of affected TDI vehicles who can provide VIN or vehicle-identification number or other verification data.
The offer is good until April 30, 2016.
The dealership cards can only be used at participating VW dealerships. Both cards expire one year after date of issuance.
Consumers can call 1-800-822-8987 for more information.
Edmunds says: Volkswagen takes another step to appease angry diesel owners. The first round of the goodwill program appears to be successful, since about 265,000 customers have registered for it.