Date
24 January 2017
New Volkswagen cars are covered in plastic en route to dealers. The German carmaker's buyback offer includes versions of the Jetta sedan, the Golf compact and the Audi A3 sold since 2009. Photo: Reuters
New Volkswagen cars are covered in plastic en route to dealers. The German carmaker's buyback offer includes versions of the Jetta sedan, the Golf compact and the Audi A3 sold since 2009. Photo: Reuters

VW offers to buy back half a million diesel cars in US

Volkswagen A.G. will offer to buy back almost 500,000 diesel cars that used sophisticated software to evade US emission rules.

The plan is part of a deal with US regulators under a federal complaint relating to the German carmakers’ admission it manipulated emission tests.

Reuters is reporting that Volkswagen is expected to tell a federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday that it has agreed to offer to buy back up to 500,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles sold in the US that exceeded legally allowable emission levels.

That would include versions of the Jetta sedan, the Golf compact and the Audi A3 sold since 2009.

The buyback offer does not apply to the bigger, 80,000 3.0-liter diesel vehicles also found to have exceeded US pollution limits, including Audi and Porsche SUV models, the people said.

VW in September admitted cheating on emissions tests for 11 million vehicles worldwide since 2009, damaging the automaker’s global image.

As part of the settlement with U.S. authorities including the Environmental Protection Agency, Volkswagen has also agreed to a compensation fund for owners, a third person briefed on the terms said.

The compensation fund is expected to represent more than US$1 billion on top of the cost of buying back the vehicles but it is not clear how much each owner might receive, the person said.

Volkswagen may also offer to repair polluting diesel vehicles if US regulators approve the proposed fix, the sources said.

A VW spokeswoman, the EPA and the Justice Department declined to comment Wednesday.

VW will pay cash compensation to owners who either sell their vehicles back or get them fixed, one of the people briefed on the matter said.

Owners selling back their vehicles will get an additional cash payment on top of receiving the estimated value of the vehicles from before the emissions scandal became public in September 2015.

Owners are expected to have about two years to decide whether to sell back vehicles or get them repaired. It is not clear whether VW will be allowed to resell vehicles they buy back, the source said.

The framework deal with US officials was reached after lengthy talks in recent days at the Washington law office of Robert Mueller.

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