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13 May 2017, 10:45 | Frank Carlson
Judge approves emissions-cheating settlement for 3-liter VWs
He has emphasised from the start the need to get the polluting cars off of USA roads and to compensate owners deceived by VW marketing.
The company said Thursday it welcomed Breyer's decision to approve the agreement.
The settlement could set Volkswagen back by up to $4 billion if it can't come up with regulator-approved, emissions-reducing repairs for 58,000 newer-model vehicles by deadlines in October, November and December this year.
Robert Giuffra, lead attorney for Volkswagen, said of Breyer's likely approval of its 3-liter settlement: "If the court approves these settlements, it means that we have reached a resolution is for every single diesel auto in the United States, almost 600,000".
"The court finds that the settlements are fair, adequate and reasonable and will approve those settlements and appoint the committee as required or requested by the defense", Breyer said after listening to objections from VW 3-liter drivers during a three-hour hearing. But VW must submit its proposed fixes in a timely manner and have them approved.
Resolution of the civil case comes after another federal judge ordered the German auto maker in April to pay a $2.8 billion criminal fine as part of a plea deal with USA prosecutors.
The company has acknowledged that the cars were programmed to turn on emissions controls during government lab tests and turn off the controls while on the road.
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The later Gen 2 models are all expected to be brought into compliance - a buyback option will not be offered - though owners of Gen 2 vehicles will also receive compensation ranging from $7,039 to $16,114.
The development brought the scandal-plagued German auto giant a step nearer to closing the book on the "dieselgate" affair, which rocked the company for almost two years since it admitted configuring some 11 million cars worldwide to evade emissions testing.
The deal - which will see VW pay up to $1.2bn to repurchase or fix around 75,000 3.0-litre VW, Audi and Porsche cars - already received preliminary approval in February. "We believe the substantial compensation and steps to fix or remove polluting cars from the roads detailed in the settlements provide excellent value to consumers and hold Volkswagen and Bosch accountable for their breach of consumer trust".
On top of the consumer compensation, the company must also pay $225 million for environmental remediation after the 3-liter diesel vehicles spewed nitrogen oxide at excessive rates.
"I think it's important to note that we've made significant progress so far getting those polluting cars off the road", he said.
The scandal, uncovered by federal and state regulators in 2015, also involves 475,000 2.0-liter vehicles, with the equipped software allowing the vehicles to emit pollution up to 40 times the legal limit. "As of today, and this is six months into the program. we're up to 280,000 vehicles".
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