One more step on the long march to making things right, but there's still a long ways to go.
Today marks the beginning of a long road ahead for Volkswagen. U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer of California has granted preliminary approval for the 2.0-liter TDI settlement reached on June 28th. Though this isn’t a final approval of the lawsuit put forth by owners, which could come October 18th, it’s the first of many steps toward a fix.
Over 475,000 2.0-liter diesel owners in the U.S. will now receive notification of their options by Volkswagen. They can either sell their vehicle back to Volkswagen or terminate their lease without a penalty, or they can accept a free emissions fix that's yet to be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Regardless of which option they choose, owners of cars affected by the suit will also receive an extra $5,100 to $10,000 in cash.
The vehicles included in the proposed fix range by model, year, and even make with the inclusion of Audi. The 2013-2015 Beetle, 2010-2015 Golf, 2009-2015 Jetta, 2012-2015 Passat, and 2010-2013 and 2015 Audi A3 are all affected.
Of course, the aforementioned compensation will only come with approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, otherwise Volkswagen could be forced to buy back all of its affected vehicles, ranging from $12,500 to $44,000 in value. Estimates expect Volkswagen will pay a total of around $14.7 billion in the end, including $2.7 billion for environmental mitigation.
Compensation for the other diesel engine involved in the emissions scandal, a V6 3.0-liter TDI, has yet to be approved, but Volkswagen assures us it is working “as quickly as possible” to ensure those owners are compensated as well.
Volkswagen announces preliminary approval of 2.0L TDI settlement program in the United States
Volkswagen AG announced today that Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has granted preliminary approval of the settlement agreement reached on June 28 with private plaintiffs represented by the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) to resolve civil claims regarding eligible Volkswagen and Audi 2.0L TDI vehicles in the United States.
Individual class members will now receive notification of their rights and options under the agreement. Volkswagen will begin the settlement program immediately after the Court grants final approval to the class settlement, which is anticipated in fall 2016.
Under the proposed settlement, eligible customers will have two choices: (1) they can sell back their vehicle to Volkswagen or terminate their lease without an early termination penalty, or, (2) keep their vehicle and receive a free emissions modification, if approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Customers who select any of these options under the settlement will also receive a cash payment from Volkswagen. More information about the program can be found at www.VWCourtSettlement.com.
Volkswagen appreciates the constructive engagement of all the parties, under the direction of Judge Breyer and with the active participation of Special Master Robert S. Mueller III, as the settlement approval process moves forward. The parties believe that the proposed settlement program will provide a fair, reasonable and adequate resolution for affected Volkswagen and Audi customers.Volkswagen continues to work closely with the EPA and CARB on an approved emissions modification for each of the 2.0L TDI engine vehicles listed above. Volkswagen is also trying to secure approval of a technical resolution for affected vehicles with a V6 3.0L TDI engine as quickly as possible.
In addition to the proposed class settlement, Volkswagen has entered into a separate Consent Decree with the United States Department of Justice (acting on behalf of the EPA), CARB and the California Attorney General and a separate Partial Stipulated Order for Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgment with the United States Federal Trade Commission regarding 2.0L TDI vehicles. Volkswagen has also resolved current and potential consumer protection claims of 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The agreements are not an admission of liability by Volkswagen. By their terms, they are not intended to apply to or affect Volkswagen's obligations under the laws or regulations of any jurisdiction outside the United States. The company continues to work to resolve other outstanding legal matters in the United States.