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Volkswagen Settlement Approved – $15 Billion

VWA federal judge Oct. 25, 2016 ruled that a $15 billion payment from Volkswagen will settle the company’s U.S. emissions scandal. The legal action helped put into motion an enormous vehicle buyback program. It also green-lighted ongoing environmental remediation requirements faced by the German automaker.

Fair, Reasonable, Adequate

Judge Charles Breyer of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco approved the settlement agreement between VW car owners, the U.S. government, California regulators, and Volkswagen. The judge penned the ruling a week after indicating he was likely to approve the settlement. He called the agreement “fair, reasonable and adequate.”

VW rigged software on 11 million autos

About one year ago, Volkswagen admitted to rigging software on 11 million VW vehicles worldwide in order to dodge emissions standards.

Volkswagen still faces criminal investigations by the U.S. Justice Department as well as German prosecutors. The U.S. investigation could lead to more monetary penalties and criminal indictments.

Settlement affects 475,000 VW Owners

The settlement agreement allows some 475,000 Volkswagen owners in the U.S. to choose between taking a buyback or accepting a free fix and financial compensation, if a repair should become available.

Buyback estimates range from $12,475 to $44,176, and include restitution payments. VW owners who opt for an EPA-approved fix will receive payouts from $5,100 and $9,852, depending on their cars’ book values.

$4.7 Billion for Environmental Fines

As part of the settlement, the German automaker will also pay $2.7 billion for environmental mitigation, in addition to $2 billion for clean-emissions infrastructure.

Volkswagen has also agreed to a $1.2 billion settlement with dealers it tricked with the emissions doctoring.

VW Diesel Owners also Affected
VW is also negotiating a separate settlement with some 80,000 owners of 3-liter diesel autos also doctored with bogus software.

More than 336,000 of the eligible VW owners have already registered to accept the settlement. They could still back out, however, if VW can’t find a fix for the doctored software. The company has yet to receive approval from the U.S. EPA. If it fails to get approval, everyone will be offered the buyback option.

Fewer than 1% of eligible VW owners opted out of the deal before its September 2016 deadline. Those who failed to respond to the offer are automatically considered to have accepted it.

Volkswagen Settlement Approved – $15 Billion

Some two dozen VW owners objected to the deal during an Oct. 18, 2016 hearing. Most objections concerned the payout amount, though some criticized VW’s duplicitous “clean diesel” advertising while the company was purposefully polluting.

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