VW, Diesel Owners, Regulators Approve Major 3.0-Liter Settlement; Still Under Wraps
Coming in rapid-fire sequence, Volkswagen and owners of 80,000 3.0-liter rigged turbodiesels have reached an agreement in principal that provides the owners with “substantial compensation.” The deal knocks down what had been a major stumbling point in the German automaker’s quest to resolve its self-inflicted emissions rigging scandal, also known as Dieselgate.
At a hearing in San Francisco U.S. District Court Friday, Judge Charles Breyer did not disclose the amount of owner compensation. It is not included in the $1 billion settlement announced earlier this week between VW and regulators. Thursday’s agreement is a two-step. It allows half of the compensation to be paid when Judge Breyer nods in final assent to the arrangement. On another note, Judge Breyer also announced that some of the 3.0-liter turbodiesel fixes might not be approved until 2018.
Earlier $1 billion agreement
Volkswagen and regulators, earlier this week, reached a $1 billion settlement. The settlement offers to repurchase about 20,000 of the rigged 3.0-liter turbodiesels; fix the remainder, about 60,000, and add $225 million to a mitigation trust fund. The trust fund has been set aside to mitigate damage caused by the excess emissions. The 3.0-liter turbodiesels have been found to emit up to nine times the allowable limits of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a key pollutant in diesel emissions.
That settlement covered luxury VW, Porsche and Audi vehicles, equipped with 3.0-liter turbodiesels. The earlier agreement means VW will spend as much as $17.7 billion in the U.S. This figure resolves claims from owners, as well as federal and state regulators, who sued over the rigged, polluting diesel powerplants. The $1 billion is in addition to the compensation figures worked out with 3.0-liter diesel owners.
Jeannine Ginivan, VW spokeswoman, said details of the agreement in principal would remain under wraps for the moment. She also indicated VW was pleased with the deal. Judge Breyer set the following deadlines: the final agreement must be filed in court by Jan. 31; he expects to hold a Feb. 14 hearing to approve the deal. The Federal Trade Commission is supposed to adopt the deal, as well, the jurist said.
Thursday’s settlement is the second major compensation plan in the Dieselgate scandal. In October, Judge Breyer okayed an agreement worth about $16.5 billion. The earlier agreement, covering 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, was worth about $10.03 billion in compensation to the U.S. owners of 475,000 rigged turbodiesel vehicles. The settlement includes an offer to repurchase all vehicles. There was an offer to fix cars if a repair had been approved. However, since there is no recommended fix for the 2.0-liter fours, the only alternative is repurchase plan.