According to a leading German newspaper, Die Welt, Volkswagen could be ready to settle the “dieselgate” lawsuit over its installation of illegal software that allowed diesel vehicles to cheat emissions testing. If true, the settlement would result in the automaker paying customers affected by the scandal $5,000 each. With 600,000 affected vehicles, the total of the payments to customers would be around $3 billion. Owners of the vehicles have a seen a roughly 25 percent decrease in the market value of their cars, according to Kelley Blue Book. The payments would hopefully offset the loss in value. In addition to the rumored settlement, VW will also have to incur whatever it costs to either fix the affected vehicles or buy them back. It has been seven months since news of diesel-gate broke and the EPA has not yet approved a fix, however.
Analysts at the company suggest it could cost Volkswagen a total of $7.3 billion to buy back the vehicles if it were to come to that. That would bring the total damages to the German automaker to over $10 billion. Besides the charges brought against VW that you’re already familiar with, the company is also under investigation for deceptive advertising, although no official charges have been filed at the time of this writing.
Updated April 21, 2016
Reuters has reported that VW is expected to appear before a federal judge in San Francisco Thursday and present an agreement that would offer an option to buy back their diesel vehicles not in compliance with federal emissions standards. The buyback program would cover up to 500,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles sold in the United States that are known to have a defeat-device in their software — installed by VW engineers — to trick the EPA into thinking the cars were clean.
Models covered under the buyback deal would include the VW Jetta, Golf, and Audi A3 sold since 2009. The buyback offer does not apply to the bigger, 80,000 3.0-liter diesel vehicles also found to have exceeded U.S. pollution limits, including Audi and Porsche SUV models, according to the report.