Nearly 120,000 VW Owners Accept “Goodwill Package,” Carmaker To Present Plan For Emissions Fix Friday

Last week, Volkswagen announced it would try to win over hundreds of thousands of consumers still waiting to hear just how the carmaker plans to fix their “clean diesel” vehicles rigged to cheat emissions tests by offering owners $1,000 in cash and credits. While the “goodwill package” was seen by some as a means to buy more time, it’s apparently working: nearly 120,000 individuals have taken the company up on its offer. 

Volkswagen, now at the center of two scandals related to nitrogen oxide and carbon emissions, says that nearly one out of four eligible vehicle owners have applied for the $500 Visa prepaid card and $500 in dealership credits since the deal was announced Nov. 9, Reuters reports.

VW spokesperson Jeannine Ginivan says the figure works out to about roughly a quarter of the 482,000 vehicle owners covered by the emission scandal.

To be eligible, consumers had to be a registered owner or lessee of a Volkswagen diesel with the 2-liter TDI engine as of Nov. 8. VW owners must visit, enter their Vehicle Identification Number, their mileage and contact information by April 30. Customers must also take their vehicles to a dealer to activate the gift cards and prove they own the car.

Customers taking part in the program do not have to sign a release of claims against the company.

When first announcing the deal, VW of America CEO Michael Horn assured owners that the carmaker was working “tirelessly” to develop an approved remedy for affected vehicles.

“In the meantime, we are providing this Goodwill Package as a first step towards regaining our customers’ trust,” he said.

In other VW news, the New York Times reports that the company faces a Friday deadline to inform regulators in the U.S. how it plans to bring its diesel cars into compliance with air-quality standards.

Back in September, the Environmental Protection Agency, along with the California Air Resources Board, issued a notice of violation covering 482,000 diesel vehicles since 2008. The agencies deemed the vehicles to be equipped with “defeat devices” designed to cheat emission tests.

Since then, VW has admitted to rigging nearly 11 million vehicles worldwide with the software programmed to detect when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and to only turn on full emissions control systems at that time.

In early November, the U.S.-based agencies announced they had found an additional 10,000 VW, Audi and Porsche models to have the same devices.

The NYT reports that reps for VW and Audi are expected to meet with officials from the EPA and CARB on Thursday and Friday to review the company’s proposed solutions for the vehicles.

A spokesperson for CARB says the agency expects VW to submit its plan to modify the cars and to describe how it intended to proceed with a recall. It was unclear if Friday’s expected proposal will be a definitive fix or just an initial version of a plan.

Volkswagen says 120,000 U.S. diesel owners will get gift cards, repairs [Reuters]
Volkswagen Faces Major Spending Cuts and Regulatory Deadlines [The New York Times]

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