Last September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called out Volkswagen, which had just become the largest automaker in the world, for cheating on emissions tests – by creating software meant to pass the test without actually meeting requirements. Roughly 11 million of the company’s diesel-powered vehicles were designed to defeat emissions testing — and as a result, the company lost its CEO and was suddenly embroiled in a long-running lawsuit that officially concludes Tuesday.
The action, which reports say will be enacted by a federal judge on Tuesday, only affects owners of these recalled models in the U.S.: a new deal that will force the company to pay out $14.7 billion in total, between buy-backs and repairs. The buy-back process is expected to start no earlier than October, with payouts beginning in December, according to several sources close to the case. Unfortunately for Volkswagen, paying back the owners is only the beginning.
If you happen to be one of the drivers affected, there are two ways to get your part of the settlement back. The first is to go in for repairs, but the second route is a buy-back option. The good news: owners who choose buy-back will be given amounts equal to the vehicle’s trade-in value before the scandal broke — which is something of a relief, since value on those models has predictably dropped quite a bit since the “Dieselgate” debacle first began. Owners will also receive a little extra compensation, anywhere between $5,100 and $10,000, as Volkswagen’s way of apologizing for the trouble. Unless owners opted out of the settlement back when it began, all who purchased and leased the implicated models will receive payment. Sources suggest those affected might find the process of obtaining their payment difficult, saying that owners will be faced with “complex calculations” to determine how much they receive.
The fate of that money sits on the shoulders of U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer, who is supervising the settlement discussions. Tomorrow, Judge Breyer will review the finalized agreement, but it may take another day in court to officiate everything.
At the moment, Volkswagen has set aside $18.2 billion it has already set aside to mediate the scandal.
For its part, Volkswagen is looking to add even more electronic and environmentally friendly vehicles to its line, and has focused on using vehicles for ride-sharing. Still, Volkswagen isn’t out of the woods yet, especially since the company could face even more lawsuits from environmental groups and private owners.