VW to begin US buy-backs next month

Volkswagen will give US owners of cars affected by the emissions scandal more than $10bn after the largest ever civil settlement with an automaker accused of misconduct was approved.

The German car manufacturer will spend a further $4.7bn on programmes to offset excess emissions and boost clean-vehicle projects.

The $10.033bn buyback will begin next month, with 475,000 US owners paid the pre-scandal trade-in value of the vehicle plus further compensation of between $5,100 and $10,000. The compensation actually extends to 490,000 people as some vehicles had more than one owner.

This comes after District Judge Charles Breyer signed off the settlement on Tuesday. Some car owners said the package didn’t go far enough, but he said, ‘Given the risks of prolonged litigation, the immediate settlement of this matter is far preferable.’

VW has hired 900 people, including one to be stationed at each dealership, to handle buybacks. Owners have until September 2018 to submit paperwork to sell back vehicles. VW, which must fix or buy back 85% of the affected vehicles by June 2019 or face further fines, will have to destroy repurchased vehicles unless it wins approval for fixes.

However, the settlement only covers 2.0-liter polluting diesel Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat and Audi A3 cars from the 2009 through 2015 model years. VW still faces further costs compensating owners of 85,000 polluting 3.0-liter vehicles as well as Justice Department fines for violating clean air laws and lawsuits from at least 16 US states.

Meanwhile, VW is only offering European drivers a 30-minute fix. The majority of the 11 million vehicles affected by the scandal are European-based. The EU has asked for a guarantee that the fix will work and not have a negative effect on the vehicles in any way.