Volkswagen has agreed to pay as much as $15.3 billion to settle allegations of emissions cheating over the companyâ€™s diesel-powered vehicles. The VW settlement in the Dieselgate emissions scandal is the largest in automotive history, and one of the biggest product liability settlements ever in the U.S.
Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 that it had installed a â€śdefeat deviceâ€ť on 11 million VW and Audi diesel models worldwide. This defeat device fooled emissions testing software into thinking that the vehicles emitted far lower levels of greenhouse gas pollution than they actually did under real world driving conditions.
The Volkswagen settlement includes more than $10 billion set aside to compensate owners of the VW and Audi diesel models affected by the German automakerâ€™s emissions cheating. Owners of one of the affected vehicles will receive between $5,000 and $10,000 in compensation regardless of whether they decide to have their vehicles repaired by VW or allow the company to buy back the vehicle for its pre-Dieselgate value.
Volkswagen has also agreed to pay $2.7 billion into an EPA fund to offset the environmental impact of emission from its â€śTDI Clean Dieselâ€ť models. The fund will be used to pay for projects in order to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, the same chemical which environmental investigators found that the TDI engines emitted at up to 40 times the EPA maximum level. VW will also pay $2 billion to fund EPA programs to develop clean energy technology and vehicles, such as electric-vehicle charging stations or ride-sharing fleets.
Volkswagen also agreed to pay $603 million to the attorneys general of 42 states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, in order settle state-level claims over the companyâ€™s emissions cheating. Volkswagen still faces lawsuits from shareholders over the financial impact on the companyâ€™s bottom line caused by the emissions cheating scandal. The company is also facing a class action lawsuit filed by Volkswagen dealership owners, as well as a Department of Justice investigation and potential criminal charges in the U.S., Germany, and South Korea over the Dieselgate scandal.
Volkswagen is believed to have set aside approximately $18 billion to cover the costs of the Dieselgate litigation prior to the recent settlement announcement. Legal experts say that since the U.S. settlement has exhausted nearly the entirety of that amount, the company may not have set aside enough money to cover the legal costs of its emissions cheating if authorities in Europe demand a similar deal for the 8.5 million VW and Audi diesel owners in Europe.
The law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson has filed lawsuits on behalf of VW and Audi diesel owners whose vehicles were affected by the companyâ€™s emissions cheating. One of our partners, Michael Heygood, was named to the Plaintiffsâ€™ Steering Committee that is overseeing the Multidistrict Litigation (or MDL) in California involving the Dieselgate scandal. Our attorneys expect to remain involved in these cases throughout the litigation process as we work to achieve the best results possible for our clients who were harmed by Volkswagenâ€™s fraudulent conduct.
The vehicles included in the Volkswagen diesel recall include the 2009-2015 Audi A3 TDI, the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A7 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A8, the 2016 Audi A8L, the 2016 Audi Q5, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI. Emissions â€śdefeat devicesâ€ť have also been discovered on the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5, although so far these vehicles have not been recalled.
If you purchased or leased one of the VW, Audi, or Porsche diesel-powered vehicles involved in the Dieselgate recall, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, please call toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or follow this link to our free case evaluation form and answer a few simple questions to learn more.