Volkswagen May Buy Back, Replace Emissions-Cheating Diesels In U.S.

While owners of Volkswagen’s emission-cheating vehicles in the U.S. continue to wait for news on how the company plans to fix their cars, one lawyer working for the automaker says he’s preparing a generous compensation package for affected consumers. 

Reuters, citing German Publikation Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, reports that Kenneth Feinberg, the same lawyer who recently handled General Motor’s ignition switch compensation plan, is at work putting the finishing touches on VW’s attempt to win back customers.

Feinberg says that the carmaker hasn’t decided yet if it will offer cash, car buybacks, repairs, or replacement cars for the more than 500,000 VW cars equipped with “defeat devices” that allow the vehicle to skirt federal emissions tests.

VW has given Feinberg full authority to set up the compensation fund, which is in addition to the previously announced “goodwill package” that included $1,000 in prepaid cards and credit the carmaker made available to owners.

It’s unclear if Feinberg will allow consumers to submit claims that the vehicle’s high-emission output damaged their health.

“I am inclined to not accept that and tell such people they should sue Volkswagen if they want to,” he said.

Still, the fund likely won’t be up and running for some time as Feinberg said he probably won’t meet the 60 to 90 day goal of setting up the fund because his “hands are tied as long as VW and the authorities have not overcome their differences.”

Those differences include coming up with a plan to fix affected vehicles in the U.S.

The California Air Resources Board rejected VW’s proposal to fix 2-liter sedans sold in California between 2009 and 2015 in mid-January, calling the plan “incomplete, substantially deficient, and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles to the claimed certification configuration.”

VW submitted another plan for its 3-liter vehicles affected in California on Feb. 2, CARB has 30 days to review that proposal.

Volkswagen to offer generous compensation for U.S. customers: fund head [Reuters]