One of the final legal steps in Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal has been reached.
Judge Charles M. Breyer today granted final approval of the settlement agreement for 3.0-liter TDIs.
With that, the claims process is now open to eligible TDI owners and lessees. Until Dec. 31, 2019, owners and lessees of affected diesels can apply for cash compensation of up to $16,000.
“We are very pleased the Court will grant final approval of these settlements,” said Elizabeth Cabraser, lead counsel for the consumer plaintiffs in a statement. “We believe the substantial compensation and steps to repair 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.”
The agreement covers almost 90,000 cars fitted with the 3.0-liter TDI engine, mostly SUVs like the Touareg, Q7, and Cayenne. Among them, there are two generations: cars made between 2009-2012, and those made between 2013-2016.
Cars that are part of the second, younger generation have a much better chance of being fixed, so owners and lessees of these cars will get a free fix (once it is approved by the EPA) and cash compensation ranging from $7,039 to $16,114.
Faith in a fix for the older cars, however, is much lower, so owners of those cars can simply opt to sell them back to VW for their pre-scandal value. That equals a total payment ranging from $24,755 to $57,157, with no fear of depreciation, though mileage will impact the price.
Owners and lessees can keep their cars, though, and have an emissions modification installed (if one is approved by the EPA and CARB). Regardless of what they choose, though, owners are entitled to cash compensation ranging from $7,755 to $13,880.
For Volkswagen, repairing is the cheaper alternative, so the company will be interested in having a fix approved by the EPA. To do this, though, VW will have to meet deadlines set out in the agreement. If they don’t, Class Counsel can ask the court to mandate a buyback of all vehicles.
If that takes place, and VW is forced to buy back the newer vehicles as well as the older ones, the total that it could be forced to pay rises from $1.2-billion to $4.04-billion (assuming 100 percent participation).
A version of this story originally appeared on VW Vortex
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