Daily Management Review

VW Diesel Emissions Settlement Deadline Extended by US Judge


VW Diesel Emissions Settlement Deadline Extended by US Judge
Volkswagen AG, U.S. government regulators and owners of nearly 500,000 2.0 liter vehicles have been given time till June 28 by a U.S. judge to arrive at a final diesel emissions settlement between them.
In addition to a fund to promote green automotive technology and an environmental remediation fund to address excess emissions, the tentative settlement that was announced in April includes an offer by VW to buy back nearly 500,000 polluting vehicles form the existing owners of the vehicles.
In order to complete the complex agreement for the final settlement, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer agreed to extend the deadline by one week after the judge had set a June 21 deadline to publicly file the final settlement in April.
Breyer said in a written order "given the highly technical nature of the proposed settlements in these complex proceedings", he was extending the deadline. The request for the extension was made by former FBI director Robert S. Mueller, who has been acting as the court-appointed mediator.
It has been weeks that people involved in the case, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, U.S. Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission and lawyers representing owners, have been working to hammer out the final agreements.
The agreement is still on track to be finalized, two sources briefed on the talks said.
The delay was at the request of the FBI's Mueller, noted VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan.
"We thank our customers for their continued patience as the process of finalizing agreements moves forward," she said.
If regulators approve a fix, an option to eventually get cars repaired is also included in the final settlement agreement. Breyer had said in April that  the owners will get "substantial monetary compensation".
To cover the costs from Dieselgate -- including nearly 8 billion euros to cover buying back and fixing polluting vehicles, in April Volkswagen had said that it would set aside 16.2 billion euros ($18.2 billion) and slash its dividend.
Around 80,000 larger VW, Audi and Porsche 3.0 liter vehicles with separate undisclosed software that allowed vehicles to emit up to nine times legally allowable pollution is not expected to be included in the initial settlement that is to be announced later this month. A later date is expected to be fixed to address the problems of these vehicles.
Sources have told media that the issue of how much VW will pay in fines for admitting to violating the Clean Air Act would only be addressed at a later date. VW could face up to $18 billion in fines for installing the cheating software, the EPA had said in September 2015.
The agreement must get final judicial approval, which could come at a July 26 hearing after it is finalized and it also has to face a public comment period. Judge Breyer did not delay that hearing.
An ongoing criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department is also being faced by Volkswagen.