Federal Court Grants Volkswagen Settlement Over Diesel Emissions Scandal
On Tuesday, it was approved by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who found it was "fair, adequate, and reasonable".
A federal judge approved Volkswagen's $15 billion settlement with the USA government Tuesday, essentially forcing the company to buy back vehicles caught up in last year's emission scandal.
Under the deal, signed off by a federal judge, the owners of 475,000 VWs and Audis with qualifying diesel engines can now formally request the company buys back their vehicles from Tuesday next week.
The scandal has engulfed Volkswagen for more than a year, with the first accusations emerging in September 2015 that its diesels weren't as clean as the company claimed.
The buyback program will provide owners of the affected vehicles with a pre-scandal trade in value for their particular model, as well as a figure between $5,100 and $10,000 in additional compensation. Volkswagen has begun the process of buying back cars containing the offending engines. There is no government-approved fix as of yet, though VW's working on it.
The remaining $4.7 billion will be split between environmental remediation funds and improvements to infrastructure that caters to zero-emissions vehicles.
"Americans are exhausted of these corporations being lied to by them to us", owner Betty Carroll said at the hearing in San Francisco.
Volkswagen's parallel agreement with USA authorities will require it to modify or remove 85 per cent of the vehicles from the roads by June 2019 or face steep additional penalties.
Consumer groups welcomed the settlement announcement.
"This is not enough to deter the kind of behavior they did", he said.
Some owners have objected, saying they should receive the full purchase price of their vehicles. Not helping, Volkswagen sales have be halted for some vehicles in some markets.
A U.S. court has approved one of the biggest corporate settlements on record forcing German carmaker Volkswagen to pay $14.7 billion over the diesel emissions scandal.
Volkswagen's USA head, Hinrich Woebcken, said in a statement that it was "an important milestone in our journey to making things right in the United States". But, in reality the cars emitted higher-than-legal levels of pollutants.
To date, almost 340,000 owners have registered to take part in the settlement, and only about 3,500 owners have opted out. Auto owners and the U.S. Department of Justice sued.
Special software was attached to cars before they were tested on treadmills, but this software was removed before the cars went on the road. The reason the defeat device worked was emissions testing takes place on a dynamometer, where only the front wheels turn because the Volkswagens in this case are front-wheel drive cars. The EPA says the scheme let the cars spew more than 40 times the allowable limit of nitrogen oxide.
Note: for purposes of clarity, "Volkswagen" has been used to refer to the Volkswagen Group parent company, while "VW" has been used to refer to the company's mass-market brand of automobiles. However, Volkswagen is trying to have a word with the regulators regarding the 3.0-liter diesel vehicles also and it is expected to reach a pact pretty soon. The settlement also doesn't end any claims against parts supplier Robert Bosch, which drew up the cheating software. Here's what that means for TDI owners.
The vehicles included in the settlement program are the 2013 to 2015 VW Beetle, the 2010 to 2015 VW Golf, the 2009 to 2015 VW Jetta, the 2010 to 2015 VW Passat and 2010 to 2013 and 2015 Audi A3.
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