VW Halfway Through Diesel Car Buybacks, Fixes

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By Patrick Ambrosio

More than half the over-polluting diesel cars that Volkswagen sold in the U.S. have been repurchased or repaired, just six months after a $14.7 billion settlement went into effect.

Owners and lessees of VW’s 2.0-liter diesel vehicles were given two options under the settlement: They either could sell their car back to Volkswagen or wait and see if regulators would approve a technical fix that could bring the vehicles into compliance with emissions standards. The buyback effort started in fall 2016 while VW received EPA approval in March to fix its model year 2015 diesel cars.

Getting consumers to participate in the settlement is important for Volkswagen’s bottom line. The settlement calls for the buyback or repair of 85 percent of the affected vehicles by June 30, 2019. If the automaker misses that target, then it will be required to pay $85 million for every percentage point it falls short into an environmental remediation fund intended to offset the excess nitrogen oxides pollution those vehicles caused.

In an April 14 letter to a federal district court, Volkswagen said it has bought back or terminated the lease of just under 238,000 vehicles as of April 12. In addition, the automaker said it has completed an initial emissions modification on about 6,200 vehicles.

The court hasn’t yet approved a separate settlement covering Volkswagen’s larger 3.0-liter diesel vehicles. An approval hearing on that settlement, which covers vehicles such as the VW Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne, is scheduled for May 11.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Ambrosio in Washington at PAmbrosio@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

For More Information

Volkswagen's April 14 letter to the court is available at http://src.bna.com/nWI.

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