Lawyers acting on behalf of US VW owners have announced that Volkswagen AG has agreed to remove noncompliant diesel-powered vehicles from the road and compensate U.S. owners in a deal that is allegedly worth more than $10 billion.
The agreement of a compensation deal in the US was widely reported earlier in the year, and details of the deal have now been made available.
The sums to be paid by the company would be used to compensate 482,000 owners of 2.0 litre vehicles who could receive between $1,000 and $7,000, depending upon the age of their vehicle.
It is understood that US owners would have a choice between selling their vehicles back to Volkswagen at the value before the scandal broke on 18 September 2015, or keeping the cars and letting the company repair them.
Either way, they would also get $1,000 to $7,000 depending on their car’s age, with an average payment of $5,000. Whilst the bulk of the money would be used to fix the affected vehicles, buy them back and compensate owners, some of the funds would also go to US government agencies as penalties and be put towards an environmental programme to remediate the environmental damage caused by the pollution.
The deal is tentative and the terms may change by the time an official announcement is made by the judge on Tuesday, 28 June 2016. Volkswagen continue to face claims relating to 3.0 litre engines together with the prospect of hefty fines from US agencies, including a separate investigation by the US justice department.
Meanwhile in the UK, Volkswagen continues to deny that the software fitted to affected vehicles was illegal or that VW owners have suffered any loss. They maintain their refusal to compensate owners. On Wednesday Volkswagen announced that the German motor authority had approved fixes to be applied to a further 1 million vehicles.
The 1 million further vehicles are primarily Golf vehicles and means that fixes have now been approved for more than 3.7 million vehicles, including Volkswagen Passat, Tiguan and Caddy, other Golf variants, the Seat Exeo, the Skoda Superb and Audi models such as the A3, A4 and Q5.
German prosecutors have also confirmed that they have launched an investigation into the former Volkswagen chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, on suspicion of possible market manipulation related to the scandal.
This probe is said to centre on whether Mr Winterkorn should have informed investors much sooner that Volkswagen had been manipulating emissions from its cars.
Shazia Yamin from the Consumer Law and Product Safety group at Leigh Day said: Reports of the sums now being paid to US owners, together with “goodwill payments” are likely to further underline the frustration felt by UK based consumers We will continue to fight on behalf of UK based vehicle owners to ensure that are awarded the compensation they deserve.”