Court Approves VW's $14.7 Billion Dieselgate Settlement And Now Owners Can Get Their Money

Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Ap
Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Ap

It’s been over a year since Volkswagen was caught cheating on emissions tests with its 2.0-liter diesel cars, and over four months since the U.S. Justice Department revealed VW’s $14.7 billion settlement—a settlement that has just now been granted final approval by the court. Here’s what that means for TDI owners.


VW’s settlement, partly devised by the Federal Trade Commission, includes a funding pool of $10.033 billion dollars to accommodate buybacks for all 2.0-liter diesel VWs that cheated U.S. emissions regulations.

That means owners of 2009-2015 Jettas, 2009-2014 Jetta SportWagens, 2010-2015 Audi A3s and Golfs, 2015 Golf SportWagens, 2013-2015 Beetles and 2012-2015 Passats can get a check for their car’s September 2015 NADA trade-in values adjusted for mileage and option packages.

Volkswagen told Jalopnik in an email that owners should start getting their checks or electronic fund transfer by mid-November, when they drop the car off at the dealership.

That funding pool also covers owners who don’t want to participate in buybacks, but instead want to have their cars fixed (though there’s still no CARB and EPA-approved vehicle “modification” yet, and VW has until late next year to get that finalized).

Whether they choose to participate in the buyback or the fix, the settlement offers VW TDI owners between $5,100 and $10,000 in cash restitution— money that will be available for those participating in the buyback as soon as mid next month.

But for those who want to have their cars fixed, the restitution payment will not be available until the car is taken in for repair, and in the case of 2015 model year TDI’s, VW says the fix might take two dealer visits, and that owners will get two-thirds of their restitution payment on the first visit, and the remainder on the second.

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On top of that, the settlement also requires VW to set aside $2.7 billion in environmental remediation, and a further 2.0-billion to “promote Zero Emissions Vehicle technology.”


Today, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has finally approved this settlement agreement, meaning owners can finish filling their claim (a process that we’ve detailed here), and expect a check from VW soon thereafter.

Owners have until September 1, 2018, to submit their claims, and they can change their mind on whether to participate in the modification or buyback all the way up until the car is taken to the dealer to be repaired or purchased.


Above is a diagram of how the claims process works, and here’s a video explainer:


(updating post)



What needs to be made clear by the EPA and VW is this important tidbit:


I ask this because I am opting to hold onto the TDI until I know what the fix will be. Many other owners are doing the same - driving until 2018 on VW’s dime. Then either get the fix or the buyback at that time.

But what happens say in July 2017 and VW hits this magic number. They haven’t developed a fix, but they have enough cars bought back to satisfy the program. What happens?

Does the EPA go “nice job” and walks away with the VW penalty money and laughs at the remaining owners? Do they force VW to develop a fix for the few holdouts? Can they force VW to make a fix if they hit 85% without it?

What happens if you selected the fix that will never come? Are you forced to get nothing or take the buyback (if the program hasn’t already hit 85%).

What happens if you wanted to drive until 2018 only to find out when you get to the dealer and they say “nah, we’re good. Don’t need your car - program is over.”

PS - I’m only taking the fix option because VW structured the buyback amount to short change the Gen2 Passat owners. I’ll lose $4K on the deal if I elect the buyback. Guess VW thought the Gen2 would be an easier fix (we already have urea).