U.S. Judge Approves $14.7 Billion Volkswagen Diesel Buyback Deal
A U.S. federal judge in California approved Volkswagen Group’s $14.7 billion settlement with federal and state government regulators and owners of more than 475,000 VW and Audi TDI 2.0-liter diesel-powered vehicles from 2009-2015 model years with faulty diesel emissions software. The deal also includes the company’s buy-back and lease termination of the vehicles starting in mid-November.
The settlement, which was approved on Tuesday, Oct. 25, in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, marks the culmination of a major part of the ongoing scandal and investigation of diesel emissions defeat devices or software to cheat emissions tests that came to light in a notice of violation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Sept. 18, 2015.
Final approval of the settlement that was first announced in June is a “milestone in our journey to make things right in the United States,” said Hinrich Woebcken, CEO and president of Volkswagen Group’s U.S. arm in a statement. U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer said in the settlement that it “adequately and fairly compensates” recalled vehicle owners, who will receive payments of $5,100-$10,000 above the trade-in value of their vehicle.
The Group has agreed to spend more than $10 billion on buybacks and owner compensation and will also invest $4.7 billion on “green vehicle technology” to offset excess emissions and boost clean-vehicle projects. Reuters, the EPA, and other news sources report that VW may also be allowed to repair vehicles if U.S. regulators approve fixes. The recalled vehicles are said to emit up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide (NOx) smog-causing pollutants.
Customers with eligible vehicles may submit claims using a form (available at www.VWCourtSettlement.com or by calling 1-844-98-CLAIM) or at online portal www.VWCourtSettlement.com. VW officials also said that they will continue to work on an agreed resolution with owners of 85,000 3.0-liter TDI V-6 diesel engines in VW, Audi, and Porsche models that also have illegal software.