Free Press Journal

USD 15 billion Volkswagen emissions deal faces critical test


volkswagenA Volkswagen logo is seen on a VW Tiguan on display during German carmaker Volkswagen shareholders' annual general meeting on June 22, 2016 in Hanover. The boss of embattled German auto giant Volkswagen issued an apology to angry shareholders over the emissions cheating scandal that has plunged the group into an unprecedented crisis. / AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL

San Francisco : A USD 15 billion settlement over Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal faced a critical test today, with a federal judge deciding whether to grant it preliminary approval.

US District Judge Charles Breyer appeared inclined to support it. He has kept close watch over the negotiations and previously praised the efforts of attorneys and a court-appointed settlement master who helped broker the deal. Preliminary approval would allow attorneys to notify vehicle owners of the terms, which include a buyback option. Breyer is expected to decide in October whether to grant final approval or tell the sides to keep negotiating. The German carmaker agreed last month to spend up to USD 10 billion buying back or repairing about 475,000 Volkswagens and Audi diesel cars with 2-liter engines and paying owners USD 5,100 to USD 10,000 each. Details about the vehicle repairs have not been finalized, reports AP.

The owners could use a settlement website to determine how much compensation they would get. They could object and opt out, allowing them to pursue legal action against Volkswagen on their own. The settlement also includes USD 2.7 billion for unspecified environmental mitigation and an additional USD 2 billion to promote zero-emissions vehicles. It does not cover about 85,000 more powerful Volkswagens and Audis with 3-liter engines also caught up in the emissions scandal. Volkswagen has acknowledged that the cars were programmed to turn on emissions controls during government lab tests and turn them off while on the road.