After months of negotiating and legal maneuvering, owners of overtly polluting VW diesel cars will receive as much as $7,000 in a settlement levied upon Volkswagen AG. It’s more than 10 times the amount the manufacturer originally offered owners of its vehicles that emit up to 40 times the amounts smog-forming nitrogen oxides.
The embattled carmaker has also agreed to to fund a grant program to offset air pollution. It’ part of a $10 billion settlement being negotiated for submission to a federal judge next week.
Volkswagen will provide cash payments worth between $1,000 and $7,000, depending on the vehicle’s age and other factors, to compensate nearly 500,000 affected cars. The automaker isn’t expected to be able to repair all cars affected to the satisfaction of the EPA. It may result in buybacks or extra payments to the environmental fund.
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Nearly 500,000 VW diesels affected
The company has admitted that since 2009 it rigged cars to pass EPA and California Air Resources Board emission tests. The average compensation to owners is around $5,000, according to Reuters. VW is not expected to be allowed to resell or export repurchased vehicles, unless they convince regulators that they can be fixed.
The pending agreement, announced June 23, will likely include further changes. The new fund will have an administrator hired by the Justice Department.
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Faulty VW diesel emissions since 2009
Individual states will be allocated funds, but they’ll have to submit projects for approval based on criteria laid out in the court agreement. The fund administrator will audit projects. VW hasn’t had any input into details regarding the remediation plan.
The emissions issue has affected as many as 11 million cars globally, with VW admitting it used products to provide faulty emissions result since 2009. In the United States, the cars affected include:
Jetta (model year 2009–2015), Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014), Beetle (2013–2015), Beetle Convertible (2013-2015), Audi A3 (2010–2015), Golf (2010–2015), Golf Sportwagen (2015), Passat (2012-2015).
Article Last Updated: June 23, 2016.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.