Cash Coming to 3.0-liter Diesel Owners as Judge Approves $1.22 Billion Volkswagen Settlement

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Is was probably with a sigh of relief that U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer granted final approval to a settlement for owners of 3.0-liter diesel Volkswagen Group vehicles earlier today. The issue has consumed no shortage of court time both before and after last December’s preliminary approval for a buyback, compensation and fix plan.

More than 80,000 Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi models were sold with engines rigged to cheat on emissions tests. Many of those units will now be bought back and others fixed — a plan with a minimum $1.22 billion price tag.

Breyer’s approval marks the end of the automaker’s main legal wranglings in the U.S. It also opens the cash floodgates, as even owners who opt for a fix will see a pile of crisp, clean dollars from VW.

A further $327.5 million will be paid to U.S. diesel owners by Robert Bosch GmbH, the German supplier that had a hand in developing the engines. Already, more than 70 percent of owners have registered for VW’s compensation package.

VW is also on the hook for a further $225 million in environmental initiatives to satisfy the U.S. Justice Department.

“We believe the substantial compensation and steps to repair or remove polluting cars from the roads detailed in the settlements provide excellent value to consumers and hold Volkswagen and Bosch accountable for their breach of consumer trust,” said Elizabeth Cabraser, lead counsel for the consumer plaintiffs, in a statement.

Under the plan, vehicles have been split into two groups. The first, 2009-2012 “Generation One” models, contain older engines that so far have proven difficult to fix. As of today, no repair has received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency. Owners of such vehicles can opt for a buyback, or hold their horses and wait for a fix (as well as $7,755 to $13,880 in compensation cash).

The automaker will pay owners seeking a buyback the equivalent of 2015 “clean” trade-in value, adjusted for mileage and options. That equals a $24,755 to $57,157 value, depending on model. A trade-in credit option has also been made available for those looking to pick up a new Volkswagen Group model.

The crop of 2013-2016 “Generation Two” vehicles is viewed as being easier to fix, so those owners face a different choice. If VW can rustle up a fix in a timely manner, each owner will receive the emissions modification plus $7,039 to $16,114 in cash (with the option of half up front). By “timely,” the settlement means no later than December 20th of this year. Should VW come up dry on a fix, it’s buyback time for these newer vehicles — a move capable of adding billions of dollars to VW’s tab.

Should VW miss the deadline, similar buyback rules apply. Owners will receive between $43,153 to $99,862 for their luxury vehicles.

All of these sums are for the VW settlement only. Owners stand to gain fatter stacks as Bosch ponies up its admittedly smaller share of the penalty.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Amca Amca on May 12, 2017

    We got an '14 A8 TDI with a $93K sticker on a CPO deal with 8,400 miles on it for $71k. And now we're going to get $15k back on it! We got a $93k car for $56k! And it's a great car - hoping the emissions fix isn't too harsh on it . . . .

  • Pricha33 Pricha33 on Jun 07, 2017

    So as Canada has taken a similar stance on the 2.0L TDI recall ( only months later than USA ), if I buy a 2014 Q5 TDI today would I be in line for a buyback ( if no fix ) , or at a minimum extra cash back from VW if they do get an approved fix. The dealer I spoke to today ( who played dumb on the whole issue ) , that any settlement only applied to owner at time defect was detected in 2015. That doesn't make sense to me , the prior owner finished his lease or traded the car back in, I would expect the current owner at the time of settlement to receive any compensation.

  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."