BRUSSELS -- Volkswagen Group pledged to fix all cars equipped with illicit engine software in Europe by autumn 2017, the European Commission said on Wednesday after talks with the carmaker to ensure it is doing enough for affected clients.
At a meeting with consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova, VW board member Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz committed to a plan to inform customers by year's end of the need for a technical fix to bring diesel cars into line with EU caps on toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, Jourova's spokesman said.
The automaker also committed "to have all cars repaired by autumn 2017," spokesman Christian Wigand said, adding the company would offer clients "proof of conformity."
VW has admitted that it installed improper software that deactivated pollution controls on more than 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide.
EU officials have called on the carmaker to do more to compensate European clients since its $15 billion settlement in the U.S. for using the cheat software, saying it is unfair for them to be treated differently. While Americans are getting packages worth thousands of dollars, those in the EU were simply offered repairs.
Volkswagen officials, including CFO Frank Witter, justified better terms in the $15 billion settlement with the U.S. government, saying the technology fix in Europe is easier, and that customers in its home market don't face the same drop in their cars' value.
"Volkswagen committed to an EU-wide action plan today, which is an important step towards a fair treatment of consumers," Jourova said in a statement.
Following the meeting with Sanz, an EU official said it wasn't the commission's role to impose fines or order compensation. The official said that was ultimately a matter for national courts and enforcement authorities to decide on a case-by-case basis.
Jourova said in the statement that she "will closely monitor this commitment and continue to work with consumer organizations, authorities and Volkswagen."
Volkswagen has rejected suggestions it may have breached EU consumer rules and said it does not see the need to compensate affected car owners in Europe.
VW is making slow progress on fixing cars in Europe, having repaired less than 10 percent of the 8.5 million affected models in Europe. It said the majority of the cars in Europe can be repaired this year, but an unspecified number will have to wait.
VW Group models with 1.2-liter and 2.0-liter engines require only a software update on pollution control systems, but about 3 million 1.6-liter models also require a mesh to be installed near the air filter.
Volkswagen declined to immediately comment on the talks with the EU.
Bloomberg contributed to this report