Volkswagen Gets More Time To Sort Out Buy-Back/Fix Plan For Cheating Diesels

Image courtesy of Benedict Benedict

In April, Volkswagen and federal regulators came to a proposed settlement agreement that would see the embattled carmaker offer to buy back hundreds of thousands of vehicles equipped with emissions-cheating “defeat devices.” However, that plan was still far from final, and didn’t explain how VW would actually fix these cars. The court had given the company and the government until June 21 to reach a final agreement, but now that deadline has been extended — just the latest extension for the carmaker that admitted to using emissions-cheating software in more than 11 million vehicles worldwide. 

U.S. District judge Charles R. Breyer entered an order [PDF] on Wednesday giving VW until June 28 to publicly file the final settlement agreement and provide him what a detailed plan to bring affected vehicles into compliance with clean air laws.

The extension came at the request of the court appointed mediator handling the case, former FBI director Robert Mueller.

“Given the highly technical nature of the proposed settlements in these complex proceedings, the court extends the deadlines for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to file its motion for preliminary approval of settlement,” Breyer said in the order.

VW, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and others are all involved in crafting the final agreements.

Reuters, citing sources briefed on the talks, reports that the agreement is still on track to be finalized.

The tentative agreement includes VW buying back nearly 500,000 polluting vehicles, establishing an environmental remediation fund to address excess nitrogen oxide emissions, and a fund to promote green automotive technology.

More details on the settlement are expected to be released on June 28. It will then be subject to a public comment period before final judicial approval, which could come at a July 26 hearing.

U.S. Judge extends VW diesel emissions settlement deadline [Reuters]