A US federal judge in San Francisco has approved the near $15 billion settlement by Volkswagen in its emissions-cheating scandal, with payments starting to go out almost immediately.
In the largest such auto settlement, $10 billion has been allocated to compensate owners of 2.0-litre turbodiesel equipped Audis and VWs who choose to negotiate buybacks for their vehicles. About 475,000 owners are expected to seek returning their diesel vehicles, which Volkswagen acknowledged had used software to pass emissions testing but then switch off in everyday operation. Owners will also be allowed to obtain cash payments (between $5,100 and $10,000) for compensatory damages.
The remaining $4.7 billion will be allocated by Volkswagen to go toward emissions-reducing projects and other clean-vehicle initiatives (presumably electrification of their fleet).
Volkswagen will also pay attorney fees and costs pegged at no more than $324 million, and $8.5 million for out of pocket expenses.
“The settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate,” wrote US District Judge Charles Breyer in signing his order that was posted Tuesday morning. The order states that 336,612 owners had registered for the settlement, while 3,298 had opted out.
The settlement will thus release legal claims against Volkswagen by the vast majority of owners of Volkswagen Group cars equipped with 2.0 TDI 4-cylinder engines in North America, but does not apply to owners of 3.0-litre V-6 turbodiesels, which were also found to have been tampered with.
Nor does it affect claims against Volkswagen supplier Robert Bosch, which was found to have created the software used to allow the engines to “pass” emissions testing.