Judge Gives Preliminary Approval to Volkswagen Settlement; Owners Have Two Years to File Claims

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
judge gives preliminary approval to volkswagen settlement owners have two years to

Volkswagen’s multi-billion-dollar make-nice deal with U.S. regulators and owners was given a tentative green light today, after a federal judge gave the settlement his preliminary approval.

The San Francisco hearing is the first of two, and approval of the $14.7 billion buyback and compensation plan could get a full go-ahead on August 25. The hearing shed light on what owners of defeat device-equipped diesels can expect in the coming months.

According to Nathan Bomey of USA Today, the size of the settlement shocked U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer. “I’ve never seen so many pages,” he remarked.

Volkswagen plaintiffs attorney Joe Rice said if things go according to plan, owners of 2.0-liter diesel VW and Audi vehicles have two years to settle their claims. That means a deadline of September 2018. Money will start flowing to owners in the fourth quarter of this year, he said.

40 Volkswagen employees will be tapped to oversee the buyback and compensation program, which includes $4.7 billion in environmental initiatives.

Bomey claimed that Breyer was especially fond of a clause that prevents polluting vehicles from being sold and sent overseas, calling it “one of the most important aspects” of the settlement.

David Shepardson, reporting for Reuters, tweeted that the automaker will offer extra cash (on top of the settlement sum) to forgive vehicle loans. According to Shepardson, the automaker will try to reach owners “through ads on Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram and dozens of newspapers.”

Owners of 2009 and later 2.0-liter diesel models can expect significant compensation. Volkswagen will buy back those vehicles at pre-scandal estimates and offer cash compensation totaling between $5,100 and nearly $10,000.

[Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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  • Brettc Brettc on Jul 26, 2016

    Here's a link to the Preliminary approval presentation that was shown in the court hearing today. It's confirmed that condition doesn't matter. http://bit.ly/2aomneI

    • Storz Storz on Jul 27, 2016

      ^^ Awesome, thanks for posting. Can't wait to get this ball rolling!

  • Testacles Megalos Testacles Megalos on Jul 28, 2016

    I've posed the question about what happens if you crash your TDi between June 28 and the day VW settles with you, to one of the law firms involved with the class action suits; here is the verbatim response: As long as your vehicle is operable, you are eligible for the settlement. Under the settlement agreement, "Operable” means a vehicle that can be driven under its own 2.0-liter TDI engine power. Damage to your vehicle will not reduce the amount. Shelby Smith | Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP | Direct: (206) 268-9370 Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 11:07 AM To: Shelby Smith Cc: Joseph Salonga Subject: RE: VW buyback So the sine qua non is that the car must be driveable? From: Shelby Smith [mailto:shelby@hbsslaw.com] Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 2:06 PM Cc: Joseph Salonga Subject: RE: VW buyback Under the settlement, if your car is totaled (and the title transferred to an insurance company) after June 28, 2016, you are excluded from the settlement class and reserve your rights and claims against VW. Depending on the amount of damage to your vehicle, you may want to keep the vehicle and turn it in to VW when the time comes. A Salvage brand after 9/18/2015 will not affect your right to compensation. In terms of repairing it, you only need to repair it sufficiently that it can be driven. There is no point in doing detailed bodywork or paint, for example. Shelby Smith | Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP | Direct: (206) 268-9370

  • Hugh I bought my 2014 Volt in 2017 with 29K miles on it- all ICE. The lease person never charged the battery. Lifetime MPG was 41. I have owned the car over 5 years now. Lifetime MPG is 151. All I have had to do to maintain it was tires, brakes and an oil change every two years (at 50% oil life). It has been incredibly dependable. It is small and cramped for passengers, but I love it. It did cost more than the Cruze it is based on, but a friend at GM said was sold for half of what it cost to make. GM pulling the plug on yet another EV is no surprise.Two months after I bought it my brother went into an ICU 200 miles away. I was able to spend every weekend with him. I could not have done that in a Leaf. I drive a 39 mile eaxh way commute. The Volt is perfect for that, except when temperatures drop below 45. Even then, when it has to run the ICE, I get 145mpg at least. I have saved enough money on gas to pay for the car and then some. CO2 is about 20% of what my Tacoma was based on the 12KW it takes to charge eaxh way. Now that it is an orphan, it is getting harder to find a qualified technician. Parts are also hard to find and expensive. I have bought (and may actually actually receive) a 2023 Maverick Hybrid. If Ford makes a Maverick PHEV I will trade for that.If I could find a Gen2 at a reasonable price I would have bought that instead of the Maverick.
  • MaintenanceCosts What a bizarre idea. Keep it legible. There's absolutely nothing wrong with A4E, Q5E, etc. At this point the Q5, Q7, and A4 in particular are such well-known brands that it's just dumb to monkey with them.
  • Ajla After the success this sort of thing brought Infiniti and Cadillac I can see why Audi is joining in.
  • SCE to AUX A plug-in hybrid requires two fuels to realize the benefit of having that design. This is where the Volt fell down.It could be either:[list][*]A very short-range EV[/*][*]A long-range ICE with mediocre fuel economy[/*][*]An excellent mid-range vehicle that required both a plug and gasoline.[/*][/list]If you wanted a short-range EV you got a Leaf (like I did). If you wanted a long-range car with good fuel economy, you got a Civic/Elantra/Cruze/Corolla. In my case, we also had an Optima Hybrid.I'd personally rather have a single-fuel vehicle - either gas/hybrid or electric - rather than combine the complexity and cost of both into one vehicle.
  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.