U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer approved a $14.7 billion settlement between Volkswagen (VW) and 475,000 owners of 2.0-liter TDI “Clean Diesel” vehicles with illegal software that cheats emissions tests.
Owners have two options:
- Buyback of the car (or early lease termination) + cash: Most owners will receive between $12,500 and $44,000 each, depending on the model, year, mileage, and other factors.
- Fix the emissions system and keep the car + cash.: Repairs may affect vehicle performance or fuel-efficiency and they must be approved by the EPA and CARB.
The claim deadline is September 1, 2018. You can submit a claim on www.VWcourtSettlement.com or call VW at 1-844-98-CLAIM. The FTC has up a website for VW Buybacks and Lease Terminations with more information.
VW executives took full responsibility but said it was not a corporate decision. Instead, they blamed a couple of rogue engineers who wrote and installed sophisticated software known as a “cheat device.”
Diesel engines are 20-40% more efficient that gas engines, but the trade-off is higher emissions of toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx).
In Europe, where around 50% of all cars are diesels, the laws limiting NOx emissions are far less strict than in the U.S., where only 3% of all cars are diesels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) phased in even stricter limits between 2004 and 2009.
From 2009 to 2015, cheat devices were installed on about 11 million VW and Audi diesels sold worldwide. The cars were programmed to reduce emissions during the test by sensing parameters like speed, air pressure, and steering wheel position.
On the road, emissions increase dramatically — up to 40X the legal limit of NOx on 2.0-liter TDI engines, according to the EPA.
The discrepancy was discovered in 2013 by a small non-profit group, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which warned the EPA. The scandal erupted in September 2015 when VW admitted using cheat devices.
Source: Consumer Affairs