By on July 26, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon TDI grille

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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25 Comments on “Judge Gives Preliminary Approval to Volkswagen Settlement; Owners Have Two Years to File Claims...”


  • avatar
    Storz

    Good. When can I register for the buyback! I am ready to move on

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Supposedly October, I think. The vwcourtsettlement.com site still doesn’t work to give detailed buyback info with a VIN, which is a bit annoying.

      What’s being reported today is confusing. With the way things are worded it sounds like VW is going to forgive existing loans with them AND give the buyback value. If that’s the case, I’ll dump my car a lot sooner than I had planned. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the case…

      • 0 avatar
        midwestTDI

        With the loans — I suspect it will be $Balance – $ettlement. So for my 2012 (paid off long ago), if I owed $2000, that would probably come off the settlement of $22000 — so I would get $20,000 vs $22k.

        As for the VIN and the website, I believe VW was waiting for this day and the approval. I keep seeing Aug 25th as another date, but what I do recall from the legal documents, We, owners, have to be through step x by Sept 16th (?).

        So between August and Sept 16th we will be contacted via snail-mail and/or e-mail about our options. There will be time to submit your ownership details, VIN, etc. Take the electronic approach to make things run quickly, so by the time the end of October comes around, I am hoping my buyback is complete and I have new wheels just in time for winter!! LOL

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No the extra fund for loans is for people that are way underwater, so that VW can actually gain title to the car to crush it. So it is for the person who kept rolling their underwater car for a new one and tacking that deficit onto the new loan.

          So it is for the person who owes $15K on a car that the trade in was $6k and the bonus $5k. So if you are that person then you get zero cash but they will pay the $15K you owe to get the finance company to give them the title.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So essentially, you get nothing instead of a product you purchased and were making payments on negative equity notwithstanding?

  • avatar
    kaypee330

    I owned a ’13 Passat TDI SE up until this past March when a texting driver rear-ended me and totaled my recently paid off car. Does anyone have an idea of if I stand to receive any compensation despite my car being gone? I got a settlement through insurance, but less than the car would have been worth had this scandal not occurred.

    • 0 avatar
      manny_c44

      Yes this is why I just keep my TDI off the street and garaged, if I got an accident-insurance payout I would lose a substantial amount of money.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      I think you had to own the car when the scandal broke in September 2015 to get anything.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      If you owned it previous to Sept 18, 2015, I think you are entitled to some compensation. Do a search for “totaled” in this document.

      http://bit.ly/2a9u8YQ

    • 0 avatar
      yankinwaoz

      We discuss nuances like your in great detail here:
      http://forums.tdiclub.com/forumdisplay.php?f=99

      Believe it or not, you aren’t the only one in this situation.

      • 0 avatar
        Testacles Megalos

        If you own the car, the car is crashed, and the insurance wants to total it, there is no obligation for you to sell it to them (which is what “totalling” the car -taking the cash in return for the trash – means).
        It is stipulated in the settlement that if you sell your TDi after June 28 you are not eligible for any buyback funds; if you take the “totalled car” deal, you’ve sold your car and so not eligible for VW bucks.
        It is also NOT stipulated that the car must be driveable to get the buyback. I’m no lawyer, but that sure seems to mean that a ball of twisted metal with the correct VIN and a matching title in your hand entitles you to buyback as long as you owned the car/held title since at least Sept 18 2015.
        Leasers might not have it quite so evident.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    September 2018 will be 3 YEARS after this scandal broke. A lot of stuff can happen in 3 years.

    What about the special cases in the meantime, in which the car has been totaled and under-compensated by the insurance company, or traded for a poor ‘TDI-is-poison’ value? Does a former owner who got burnt when they traded their TDI in January have any recourse? Besides individual owners, how will small-time dealers be compensated for their radioactive holdings?

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      SCE TO AUX,
      I think there is some cash for someone who sold their car after the scandal broke, I think they split the money 50/50, no idea if your car was totaled but my guess is your SOL. I think if you total it form today until the paperwork is final your also SOL.

      Not sure what I will do w mine, hopefully VW has their website setup now and buyback numbers will become 100% real and I will decide at that point.

      I find it unfair they can not export these cars, more than likely they would have replaced even dirtier oil burners.

  • avatar
    karonetwentyc

    Something of a rhetorical question at this time as there is no answer at present: for those of us who have upgraded our cars with OEM components above and beyond the spec they left the factory with, how will that affect our compensation amount?

    Our 2012 Jetta has received upgraded sat-nav from a 2014 Passat, a reversing camera, Middle East-spec DSG cooler, and a couple of other things. All of these are OEM VW items, not aftermarket, and that’s close to $2K in upgrades. I’d like to know what VW’s plan is for taking this into account when valuing the vehicle.

    Additionally, news concerning the stop-sale affecting the 2015 and 2016 models (which were not part of the EPA action) would be appreciated. We’d be more than happy to reinvest whatever we receive in the settlement straight back into a new similar-spec Jetta TDi, but have zero interest in the gas models. From both a customer retention and business perspective it doesn’t make sense for VW to not be working to have them opened up for sale.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      VW is buying back the car as it was sold to you. Whatever fancy stuff you put on it afterwards is on you. If the mods are really worth something, you should take them off before you turn the car in.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Any upgrades you have done are meaningless for the buyback. The values are already out there and easy to find. If you want to make additional money, remove what you can and try to sell it on Ebay or Craigslist.

      Buyback calculator: https://agrahamg.github.io/VWBuybackCalculator/

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I don’t think there will be any new TDIs. Volkswagen diesel is dead in the US.

  • avatar
    brettc

    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

  • avatar
    Testacles Megalos

    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:[email protected]]
    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

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