What You Need To Know About Buybacks and Compensation:
Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Settlement FAQ
WASHINGTON — Owners and lessees of approximately 475,000 2009-'15 Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles fitted with defeat-device software to bypass U.S. emissions standards will receive substantial compensation through buybacks and lease terminations, along with cash payments, according to a $14.7-billion settlement announced on Tuesday by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice.
"We take our commitment to make things right very seriously and believe these agreements are a significant step forward," said Matthias Muller, Volkswagen AG CEO, in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Justice said it was "a significant first step" in achieving justice for U.S. consumers, but described it as a "partial" settlement.
The settlement does not resolve pending claims concerning Volkswagen and Audi 3.0-liter diesel vehicles and does not address criminal liability or civil penalties. The Department of Justice said the criminal investigation in the matter is "ongoing."
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called this a "groundbreaking settlement."
"We're getting VW's polluting vehicles off the road," McCarthy said. "The scope of our agreement is unprecedented."
VW may begin buying back eligible vehicles as early as October 2016.
Consumers who choose the buyback program will receive a payment equal to the September 2015 National Automobile Dealers Association Clean Trade-in value of the car before the emissions scandal became public. Leases can be canceled without termination fees.
Consumers will also receive cash payments in addition to the buyback value.
Most owners who purchased a 2.0-liter vehicle before September 18, 2015 will be eligible for a payment ranging from $5,100 to approximately $10,000 per vehicle. Owners who bought their cars after that will get the vehicle's value and restitution worth at least $2,550.
Consumers can also opt for government-approved emissions modifications to the affected vehicles. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board must first approve the modification, and that may not come until May 2018.
Initial reaction to the settlement from lawmakers was described as a victory for consumers.
"This was one of the most egregious examples of corporate fraud in recent history," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) in a statement. "Today's settlement is not only a victory for American consumers but hopefully it will serve as a deterrent to those who seek to intentionally deceive the public."
The nearly $15-billion settlement has three parts.
VW will set up a fund of $10 billion for the buyback or lease termination program on approximately 475,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles. This amount also covers an emissions-modification program to make sure the vehicle no longer generates excess nitrogen-oxide emissions.
The company will also put an additional $2.7 billion into a "mitigation trust" to fund "environmental remediation."
Finally, VW will commit another $2.0 billion to develop and promote electric-vehicle technology over the next 10 years.
The 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine vehicles included in the settlement are:
- 2013-'15 Volkswagen Beetle
- 2013-'15 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
- 2010-'13 Volkswagen Golf Two-Door
- 2010-'15 Volkswagen Golf Four-Door
- 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
- 2009-'15 Volkswagen Jetta
- 2009-'14 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
- 2012-'15 Volkswagen Passat
- 2010-'13 Audi A3
- 2015 Audi A3
Consumers can get more information at VWCourtSettlement.com or by calling 1-844-98-CLAIM.
On July 26, 2016, the settlement website will allow class members to enter their Vehicle Identification Number or VIN and mileage to see the expected vehicle value and restitution payment for their vehicle, based on its model year, trim line, actual equipment and options.
Edmunds says: This unprecedented settlement should be a good first step toward making things right with VW consumers.