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Car and Driver: VW Agrees to Buy Back 482,000 Diesel Cars, Other Details Still Hazy


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Volkswagen has agreed to buy back nearly 500,000 diesel cars from model years 2009 through 2015 that ran afoul of U.S. emissions laws as part of a sweeping settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.


While details won’t be finalized until this summer, it is clear that owners of Volkswagen- and Audi-brand 2.0-liter diesel cars will receive “substantial compensation,” whether through a buyback or the reported option to have their cars brought into compliance in combination with a cash payout. Volkswagen also will be forced to make investments that “promote green automotive initiatives,” according to USA Today. No actions have been decided upon for owners of Audi, Porsche, or Volkswagen vehicles with larger 3.0-liter V-6 engines. Those cars were included in a second, separate EPA violation two months after the initial violation for the 482,000 2.0-liter models.


Earlier reports of Volkswagen owners receiving cash buyouts of $5000 each may not be accurate, as the deal has yet to be finalized under federal judge Charles Breyer, who is overseeing the multidistrict litigation in the northern district of California. It had been suggested that Volkswagen would set aside $10 billion to cover settlement payments, but that has not been confirmed. Full details will emerge by June 21, by which date the EPA, VW, the California Air Resources Board, the California Attorney General, and the litigants in other consumer lawsuits must agree to the settlement. The public will be allowed to comment before Breyer finalizes the deal.


As for the reported option to have the cars fixed, it’s unknown what measures might be taken. In November, Volkswagen announced several remedies for diesel engines in Europe, but none for the U.S. market. The stop-sale on current diesel models remains in effect, along with any plans to import diesel models, such as the Audi SQ7 TDI. The U.S. Department of Justice is still investigating Volkswagen for criminal charges.


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