The Volkswagen diesel car emission scandal has led the Federal Judge to award a settlement worth nearly $15 billion. This settlement is being cited as the largest in the US consumer history.
Following the settlement, a massive vehicle buyback program will be set in motion, and environmental remediation efforts will be made.
The decision was announced by Charles Breyer, the US District Court Judge in San Francisco who quoted that the agreement between the German auto manufacturer, consumers, the government, and the regulators from California was
“fair, reasonable and adequate. The priority was to get the polluting cars off the road as soon as possible. The settlement does that [and] under heightened scrutiny, [it] is laudable.”
In 2015, Volkswagen admitted that the company rigged more than 11 million cars worldwide by installing software that could dodge the emission standards. The criminal investigations against the company by the German authorities as well as the US Justice Department are still pending. Additional financial repercussions may follow if the US authorities further follow the case.
The US VW owners will be offered a buyback or a free fix and compensation. VW has already assigned the settlement task to hundreds of its employees and will start making settlements immediately. The US CEO for VW, Hinrich J. Woebcken said in his statement:
“[it is] important milestone in our journey to making things right in the United States, and we appreciate the efforts of all parties involved in this process. Volkswagen is committed to ensuring that the program is now carried out as seamlessly as possible for our affected customers and has devoted significant resources and personnel to making their experience a positive one.”
For environmental mitigation, Volkswagen is required to pay $2.7 billion. The company will pay another $2 billion to improve clean-emissions infrastructure.
The settlement was backed by class action group of consumers, the California Air Resources Board, the EPA, and the Federal Trade Commission. A study carried out by the International Council on Clean Transportation, and West Virginia University revealed the differences in the emissions performance of VW the vehicles following which EPA and the California board took action.
The VW owners eligible for the settlement include the 2-liter VW Beetle diesel from 2013 to 2015, VW Golf versions 2010 to 2015, VW Jetta versions 2009 through 2015, VW Passat versions 2012 to 2015, and Audi A3 2010 to 2013. The VW consumers must submit their claims by Sept. 1, 2018. Details of the deal are available on VWCourtSettlement.com.