The U.S. District Court of Northern California has confirmed Volkswagen’s 3.0-liter diesel “agreement-in-principle,” which calls for the automaker to fix or buy back the approximately 80,000 vehicles that cheated on emissions tests, Reuters reports. Despite the confirmation, there’s still a lot we don’t know.
In addition to the buyback and fix, the wire service says that a new agreement between the U.S. Justice Department and VW requires the company to spend $225 million mitigating excess NOx emissions caused by these polluting vehicles.
On top of that, VW has agreed to pay the California’s Air Resources Board $25 million, and also up the automaker’s electric vehicle output in the state, agreeing to offer three new electric cars in California and sell 5,000 annually.
Still, there are lots of questions remaining.
Questions like “how much?”
In particular, how much should owners of VW Touaregs, Porsche Cayennes, Audi A6s, Audi A7s, Audi A8s, Audi Q5s and Audi Q7s expect to get for both buybacks and monetary restitution? Reuters’ report just says that “the total expected cost of the settlement was not immediately available.”
In the case of the 2.0-liter diesels, VW had to spend $10 billion buying back cars for their pre-scandal trade-in value, and offer between $5,100 and about $10,000 in cash restitution on top of a “modification” option.
Things may be different in the case of the 3.0-liter diesel, as unlike the 2.0-liter diesel, VW is said to have a promising software fix in place for 60,000 of the 80,000 vehicles. Will owners of those 60,000 vehicles get the option of selling their cars back like 2.0-liter diesel owners got? Or will their only option be to fix their vehicles and take the cash restitution? Will their restitution be the same as what 2.0-liter owners received?
Reuters says Judge Breyer said owners would get “substantial compensation” once their cars were purchased back or fixed, but went on to say there’s still a lot yet to be finalized.
We also don’t know what the fix for those 60,000 cars entails, hearing only that it would be a relatively simple software fix. As for the other 20,000 cars that Reuters reported would be bought back and fixed at a later date, we still know nothing of what that fix would consist of, either.
We also don’t know how much Robert Bosch, the German engineering company that designed emissions software for Volkswagen, is expected to have to pay to settle civil allegations. Reuters said on Monday only that “the settlement was expected to be worth more than $300 million.”
So basically, we know there’s an agreement that VW will buy back and fix about 80,000 3.0-liter diesel vehicles, but we don’t know how much they’ll buy them for, whether all 80,000 owners will get the option of selling their cars back, how much VW will pay in restitution, or how VW will fix these cars.
Hopefully we’ll get these answers soon.
Update 5:15 PM: Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission Edith Ramirez issued this statement about the court’s announcement today:
We are pleased to be moving forward on an agreement in principle to compensate consumers who purchased affected Volkswagen and Audi 3.0 liter vehicles and look forward to resolving the final details. The FTC, with its partners, secured $10 billion in compensation for the vast majority of consumers harmed by Volkswagen’s deceptive advertising earlier this year, and today’s agreement will provide redress for a smaller but no less important group of consumers who were not part of the original settlement.