Prime Minister David Cameron condemned Volkswagen AG over its rigging of emissions tests and refused to be drawn on whether Britain will follow Switzerland’s lead and ban the sale of some of the beleaguered company’s diesel vehicles.
The U.K.’s Department for Transport is re-running vehicle tests and investigating the regulatory failure which allowed VW to use “defeat” devices to conceal high emissions, it said in a statement on Thursday.
“If companies are breaking the rules and fiddling their figures that is unacceptable,” Cameron told reporters Sunday as he flew to New York for a visit to the United Nations. “Emissions standards matter and they have to be properly policed and delivered.” Any move to restrict sales would be “all a matter for the Transport Department,” he said.
About 11 million vehicles around the world were fitted with the devices. The company set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to cover damages including fixes for the vehicles, potential regulatory fines and lawsuits. Martin Winterkorn quit as VW’s chief executive officer last week in the wake of the scandal. His successor, Matthias Mueller, vowed to do what it takes to overcome the crisis after the company’s shares plunged.
VW has been asked by German regulators to show by Oct. 7 when its vehicles will meet emissions requirements.
British drivers are already grouping together to prepare court actions against the company, according to reports in London-based newspapers Sunday.
Cameron, whose Conservative Party ran for office on a platform that included cutting red tape for businesses, said he would not oppose further regulation if it prevented a similar scandal in the future.
“I’m not opposed to regulation, you need to have sensible and proportionate regulation,” Cameron said.