The embattled German car manufacturer Volkswagen has announced a tentative settlement to address the so-called “Dieselgate” scandal. Last September, Volkswagen admitted to installing software in some of its diesel-powered vehicles that produced false readings during emissions testing, allowing it to market the cars as greener than they actually were. The proposed settlement is between Volkswagen and the U.S Department of Justice, state of California, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, and plaintiffs in class action suits, including those represented by Sommers Schwartz.
As part of the deal Volkswagen would agree to buy back or fix an estimated 500,000 diesel cars in the United States. This would apply only to vehicles with 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI engines sold between 2009 and 2015. Larger 3.0-liter vehicles are not part of the settlement. Volkswagen would also create environmental and consumer compensation funds over and above the buyback and repair program. The settlement would not resolve ongoing U.S. criminal investigations against the company, which could result in fines and other penalties.
Few other specifics of the deal are known at this time, and much remains confidential by order of the court. No dollar amounts have been officially announced, and there is little clarity as to what it means for owners. The buy-back program would most likely offer owners the value of their used cars before the emissions scandal came to light last year, but that has not been confirmed. The impact on vehicle performance for those opting to have the problem fixed is equally unknown.
It is important to note that the settlement is not yet finalized. The next deadline in the case is June 21, by which time the parties must submit their final settlement to the court. Dollar amounts and other specifics likely will be disclosed at that point. The court will hold a hearing on July 26 to determine whether the settlement should be preliminarily approved, which would allow the parties to send official notice of the settlement to class members. As with all litigation of this type, there will be a waiting period of at least three months during which time owners who are not satisfied with the settlement can either opt out or object before the final approval hearing. But for now, according to the court, plaintiffs and class members only need to wait for the official notice explaining their options.
If you have questions about the proposed Volkswagen settlement and how it affects your claim, please contact us at 248.355.0300 or VWlawsuit@sommerspc.com.