A US judge has approved Volkswagen AG’s US$14.7 billion deal arising from its diesel emissions cheating scandal.
The German automaker said it would begin buying back polluting cars in mid-November in one of the biggest corporate settlements on record, Reuters reports.
US District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco approved the settlement with federal and California regulators and the owners of the 475,000 polluting diesel vehicles.
The world’s No. 2 automaker is trying to move past a scandal that has engulfed it for more than a year.
VW admitted in September 2015 to installing secret software in its diesel cars to cheat exhaust emissions tests and make them appear cleaner in testing than they really were.
In reality, the vehicles emitted up to 40 times the legally allowable pollution levels.
Volkswagen chief executive Matthias Mueller told reporters in Berlin that Breyer’s approval was “an important milestone for us on the way towards clearing up the problem that we caused some time ago”.
Hinrich Woebcken, president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America, pledged to carry out the terms “as seamlessly as possible.”
Owners will get the pre-scandal “trade in” value of the vehicle and US$5,100 to US$10,000 in additional compensation.
“Given the risks of prolonged litigation, the immediate settlement of this matter is far preferable,” Breyer wrote.
Volkswagen agreed to spend up to US$10.033 billion on the buybacks and owner compensation and US$4.7 billion on programs to offset excess emissions and boost clean-vehicle projects.
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