A Scottish lawyer has promised Europe-wide legal action against Volkswagen if it fails to compensate its customers this side of the Atlantic, in the wake of the settlement just reached in the United States.

Patrick McGuire of Thompsons accused the car giant of treating Scottish and European customers with contempt, after a US federal judge approved a near $15 billion dollar settlement to compensate American owners of its vehicles following the scandal in which VW admitted using sophisticated software to cheat diesel exhaust emissions tests. Other related makes such as Skoda and Audi were also affected.

Mr McGuire contrasted the deal with VW's refusal to date to discuss compensating European customers in a similar way for the depreciation in the value of their cars. "Their response here has been to hire some of the most expensive corporate lawyers the City of London can provide and basically tell consumers to take a hike”, he commented.

“So we have a situation here where Hinrich Woebcken, president and chief executive of Volkswagen America, said this week that the settlement was 'an important milestone in our journey to making things right'. But in Europe people are just expected to keep quiet and go away.

“Well I can tell VW right now that is simply not going to happen. My firm is currently working with lawyers in the Republic of Ireland, Germany and other European nations to present a continent wide fight for justice for these consumers. We are very confident of success and will be holding a meeting in Brussels soon to discuss our next move.”

He added: “I also think it’s incumbent on the Transport Select Committee at Westminster to take another look at this issue. I would urge them to convene another evidence session with VW executives so they can explain why UK consumers are not worthy of compensation but US customers are. The select committee has the power to compel these aloof executives to explain their actions.”

Thompsons currently represents over 400 car owners as part of a mass litigation against VW.