After months of offers, counter offers and legal maneuvering, Volkswagen has reached an agreement with U.S. authorities to offer nearly 500,000 owners of 2.0-liter diesel VW and Audi vehicles in the United States viable options to address the the company’s admitted wrongdoing to mask excess emissions.
The agreed upon deal includes offering affected Volkswagen owners several options — a buyback, lease cancellation and — pending additional government testing and approval — the option to have their vehicles modified.
The deal will also include “substantial compensation” for the affected owners, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said in a report in the Wall Street Journal.
VW also establishes fund
The article further details VW has also agreed to establish a fund to remediate environmental damage caused by the excess nitrogen oxide emissions released by the affected vehicles as part of the deal.
The tentative deal was reached after weeks negotiations between VW, the U.S. Department of Justice, California’s Air Resources Board, the U.S. EPA and Federal Trade Commission.
The deal does not apply to about 80,000 3.0-liter V-6 diesels used in VW, Porsche and Audi models. A resolution on those vehicles has yet to be agreed upon.
Kelley Blue Book, a research firm, estimated the cost of buying back all the cars in the United States at $7 billion.
Last September, the EPA reported it found wide variations in emissions from VW cars that use a “defeat device” to fool emissions tests. It also announced it ordered VW to issue a recall for about 482,000 VW and Audi cars that have 4-cylinder turbo diesel engines.
The cars being recalled are equipped with software that detects when an official emissions test begins — and when the cars aren’t being tested, they “emit up to 40 times more pollution” than allowed under U.S. standards, according to the EPA and the California Air Resources Board.
Volkswagen’s troubles are far from over. It faces official investigations and possible criminal proceedings in other countries including Britain, France, Germany and South Korea. And owners of its models in Europe, who account for a vast majority of 11 million diesel cars with the cheating software.
Volkswagen is recalling the cars in Europe to reprogram the engine software, and in some cases to install a plastic part that is supposed to help lower emissions. But it has balked at offering European owners money.