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VW a step closer to settling emissions suits

German automaker reaches agreement with US Department of Justice

Published: December 20, 2016, 9:30 PM
Updated: December 24, 2016, 5:21 AM

VW 3-litre TDI V-6

2012 VW Passat TDI - Nameplate

Volkswagen has reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice to resolve the civil claims arising from the emissions-test-cheating scandal surrounding the company’s 3.0-litre V-6 diesel engines (in approximately 83,000 vehicles).

The Justice department was representing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of California, through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the state’s Attorney General. The deal is subject to approval by the US District Court for Northern California.

Under the Proposed Consent Decree, Volkswagen will recall approximately 63,000 VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles from model years 2013-2016 in order to modify the 3.0 TDI V-6s to bring them up to the reported emissions standards (pending modifications approval from the EPA and CARB). If the company is unable exact the modifications, it will buy back or terminate the leases of the affected vehicles, and may also offer to exact modifications to substantially reduce the environmental impact of those vehicles (again with EPA and CARB approval).

Audi 3-litre TDI V-6

The company will also offer to buy back or terminate the leases of another 20,000 VW and Audi vehicles (from model years 2009-2012), or again exact modifications with EPA and Carb approval to lessen the emissions of those vehicles to allow their owners to keep them.

The differentiation between the two sets of vehicles are the generations of the engines, with the latter models having the second generation of the 3.0-litre turbodiesel V-6.

The company will also put $225 million into the environmental trust established for the settlement with 2.0-litre TDI 4-cylinder engine owners to compensate owners for excess emissions. Another $25 million will go directly to CARB to support the use of zero emissions vehicles in California.

Currently under a confidentiality agreement, the discussions on the monetary relief will be updated prior to the Christmas break and are required by the court to be resolved by the end of January, at which a formal agreement will be presented to the Court.

Porsche 3-litre TDI V-6

“The agreement announced by the Court today between Volkswagen and US environmental regulators is another important step forward in our efforts to make things right for our customers, and we support the efforts of the Court to bring about a fair and reasonable resolution of remaining 3.0L TDI V-6 claims as quickly as possible,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “We are committed to earning back the trust of all our stakeholders and thank our customers and dealers in the United States for their patience as the process moves forward.”

The agreement is expected to receive approval from the Court by spring 2017, with no action needed by affected owners at this time, though they can get more information on the process at www.VWCourtSettlement.com.

Affected vehicles include 2009-2015 Audi Q7, 2009-2016 VW Touareg, 2013-2016 Porsche Cayenne, 2014-2016 Audi A6, 2014-2016 Audi A7, 2014-2016 Audi A8, and 2014-2016 Audi Q5.

Volkswagen had in October 2016 finalized a settlement with owners of 475,000 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles equipped with the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine.