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Volkswagen Buy Back Settlements to be Offered to U.S. Diesel Vehicle Owners: Reports

  • Written by: Russell Maas
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Volkswagen plans to buy back nearly 500,000 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold in the United States, as part of a recall compensation plan for owners who unknowingly purchased vehicles equipped with “defeat devices” that alter emissions levels. 

According to a Reuters report on April 20, U.S. officials and Volkswagen AG have reached a framework deal in which the automaker will offer to buy back nearly 500,000 Jetta sedans, Golf compact models, and Audi A3 models that have been sold in this country since 2009, which contain sophisticated software designed to cheat emissions tests.

The Volkswagen settlement will also include the structuring of a bare minimum $1 billion compensation fund to cover the cost of buying the vehicles back, although the automaker is likely to also propose a repair plan that will have to be approved by U.S. regulators.

The deal is an attempt to resolve the controversy surrounding the Volkswagen TDI “clean diesel” scandal. In September 2015, the manufacturer admitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the vehicles were equipped with software designed to artificially lower emissions during testing, while increasing the level of pollutants released during normal operations.

Although the Volkswagen TDI “Clean Diesel” vehicles were sold for a premium price, as “environmentally friendly” cars, some researchers from the EPA have recorded emissions levels up to 40 times the allowable rate during normal operation. However, when connected to EPA testing devices showed approved levels.

The Volkswagen recall affected nearly 500,000 diesel vehicles sold in the United States. The problems expanded after the investigation began to also include some 80,000 Audi and Porsche SUV models with bigger 3.0 liter diesel engines. The illegal devices are believed to have been installed in nearly 11 million vehicles across the globe, sparking major concerns about the company’s ethics and business practices.

Over the last several months the German automaker has admitted that it broke the law, and has set aside $7 billion to deal with the emissions scandal.

In the midst of setting funds aside and pressure to propose a fair remedy program, Volkswagen AG is also facing criminal investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and other countries’ prosecutors. The U.S. Justice Department also filed a civil suit against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche in January seeking up to $90 billion for violations of the Clean Air Act.

According to Reuters, the anticipated proposal for Volkswagen buy backs will involve either cash compensation to owners who wish to either sell their vehicles back, or an offer to have the vehicles fixed. Owners who choose to sell their vehicles back will also receive an additional cash payment on top of the estimated value of the vehicle, prior to when the emission scandal became public in September 2015, according to Reuters.

Owners are expected to have around two years to decide whether to sell back or have their vehicles fixed, if the repair option is accepted by U.S. regulators. Volkswagen attempted to introduce repair processes to fix the vehicles with a software update and a new catalytic converter. However, these proposals were rejected in January by California officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The framework of the deal Volkswagen is proposing to a federal judge today was mediated by former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Robert Mueller, who has been appointed to help settle more than 500 civil lawsuits against VW.

Volkswagen’s current proposal is not the final settlement, and some details of the deal are still being worked out that will not be finalized by today. It is also anticipated that the final settlement will include an environmental remediation fund to address excess pollution emitted by the vehicles in the U.S. since 2009. The plan has also not established whether the vehicles VW buys back will ever be able to be resold.

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Image via FotograFFF / Shutterstock.com

1 comment

  1. John Reply

    Nitrogen Oxide (IS A KNOWN CARCINOGEN) is being spewed into the atmosphere at 40 times the EPA limits X 11 Million cars X their daily mileage around the world …Good way to kill the planet , the actual owners of the cars , and increase carcinogens in the air from the cars smog producing diesel engines..I have had one family member already die from AML leukemia that was directly linked to the amount of daily actual exposure he had from this car . It occurred in less than one year from the point of purchase and then the cost to our household was well over $3 million dollars..

    Given the shark like tenacity that V W is LOW BALLING THIS FIRST INITIAL OFFER..I would recommend refusing to agree to it.

    The offer does nothing to address the health concerns of the owners and their families. Each owner must be questioned about health concerns and family deaths that have impacted each plaintiff in this class action suit.

    Furthermore this is about what NITROGEN OXIDE did to each of our lives and health, as result of a blatant lie that V W cheated on our good faith and credit in their cars , while compromising the purchase of the car , being told the over all clean air ability of the engines they manufactured.

    I have been able to talk to several owners who have had VW diesel TDI cars at their homes, and each one has had severe health problems up to and including deaths of family members.

    I think this is far from being over..AS this sits right now I would rather sue them on this and get far more response about the wrongful deaths that this cheating action has caused each specific TDI diesel owner and each family member per car.
    I believe this is a cover-up to eliminate the aspect of responsibility to care for the health effects that the carcinogen NITROGEN OXIDE HAS BEEN OVER LOOKED AND SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED FURTHER!!!!
    V W Killed people by covering up the extent of the severity of this problem hoping no one would question the validity of the situation as it transpired.
    They hope we are too stupid to understand we were duped into buying fake estimations about a car that could not deliver clean air after it used the diesel in it’s engine.
    The cars are now experiencing Door seals that are no longer keeping rain water out and also causing severe mold growth inside the cabin of this series of car..
    The engineers did not fix the moon roof leaks either??? V W also has not address the Takata Air bags issues in this model series, that when impacted in an accident can harm driver and not deploy correctly causing bodily harm and or death to both driver and passengers..

    THIS is a response from some one who has had V W Cars in our family my entire life…

    THEY can do better than this..IT IS A SHAME TO ACCEPT THIS current first offer AT THESE MODEST LEVELS..V W is ushering us along like a herd of cattle..THE COURTS AND OFFICIALS MUST ADDRESS HOW OR Request records of how OWNERS and their FAMILIES WILL HAVE LASTING HEALTH AFFECTS TO THEIR LONGEVITY THAT GREATLY DECREASES THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES.
    NITROGEN OXIDE severely limits your longevity of your specific life expectancy dramatically! Each person person who has been exposed to it..causing prolonged suffering,diminished lung capacity, swollen throat and nasal passages, and itch skin and rashes to appear on the body. Nitrogen Oxide causes Oxygen starvation of the body, and worse..such as AML LEUKEMIA…and a host of other subtle long term health affects that are hastened by the exposure to it..At 40 times EPA standards..I would expect the Judges to multiply the outcome of the settlements by a possible multiplier of 40 or more above this current initial offering.

    TO QUOTE THE TEAM OF DOCTORS AT U OF W HEATH CARE in the ICU WARD OF CANCER CARE ALLIANCE in Seattle WA at Fred Hutch Cancer research facility (The Israeli Doctor , she said and I quote her”..I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS , EVER?? IT IS AT 30 % OF HIS TOTAL BLOOD VOLUME AND WILL NOT GO DOWN AFTER 4 AGGRESSIVE TREATMENTS OF CHEMO THERAPY!” It is impossible that he is able to live much longer.”
    They took an actual tissue sample From David C Gerlach and cataloged it for further research and study. I was both shocked and horrified at this declaration from his oncology team of 6 doctors and what they responded to.

    In May of 2011 Dr David C Gerlach passed away from AML leukemia…Listed in 6 major news papers nation wide. He was a Battelle PNW Labs Lead Scientist, who diligently worked each day to work on many important projects to provide much support to our nations’ National Security.
    I will tell you now…I know he was poisoned .. and with the actions and the way V W is acting right now, it only confirms my suspicions of the actual source of that poison!!!

    V W was acting upon their intent to harm their customers to gain world wide dominance in the automobile markets at the direct dis regard of their customers safety, which also includes any one riding in a V W TDI diesel car that is named in this law suit.

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