Volkswagen Finalizing $15B Dieselgate Settlement, But Still No Fix In Sight

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Back in June, Volkswagen reached a nearly $15 billion tentative agreement with the federal government to begin the long process of putting “dieselgate” in the rearview. Now, the carmaker is seeking to finalize that agreement, with one, rather large, modification: it still doesn’t have a process to fix the 500,000 vehicles that contain so-called “defeat devices” that skirt U.S. emissions standards. 

Bloomberg reports that VW today asked federal judge Charles Breyer to officially approve the settlement with owners, despite the fact that regulators — including the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board — have yet to approve any fixes for the affected vehicles.

As a result of the lack of a fix, a finalized agreement would essentially leave VW owners with one option: allow the carmaker to buy back their vehicles.

According to the tentative agreement, VW would pay a maximum of $10.03 billion to cover buybacks and fixes for the affected vehicles.

The settlement only covers about 475,000 vehicles in the U.S. that contain 2.0 liter diesel vehicles. It does not cover about 87,000 3.0 liter diesel engine vehicles, so you can expect a separate settlement to resolve cheating allegations in the those cars.

Per the agreement, VW would remove from operation or modify at least 85% of the vehicles covered by the settlement.

To do so, the company will offer each eligible owner and lessee of an affected vehicle the option of a buyback and termination of the lease, or modification of the vehicle at no expense.

Customers would have also been given the option to have their vehicles modified once a fix was ironed out by the EPA and CARB.

CARB has previously rejected two proposed fixes from VW related to both 2-liter and 3-liter vehicles, saying the plans were “incomplete, substantially deficient, and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles to the claimed certified configuration.”

At this point, it seems likely that any proposal to fix the VW vehicles won’t be reviewed by regulators until after the settlement is approved.

Before the Judge Breyer can decide whether or not to finalize the settlement, the Associated Press reports, he will hear objections from hundreds of VW car owners.

The owners signed up to address the court with their thoughts on the settlement, including beliefs that they should receive the full price for their vehicles.

It is unclear when Breyer will announce if he plans to finalize the settlement.

VW Seeks Final Emissions Deal Approval Without Fix in Hand [Bloomberg]
Judge to hear objections to $10 billion Volkswagen emissions settlement [The Associated Press]

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