In two related settlements announced today, one with the US and state of California and a second with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the German automaker agreed to offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the US, and spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program.
Volkswagen will also spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in green vehicle technology.
The affected vehicles include 2009 through 2015 Volkswagen TDI diesel models of Jettas, Passats, Golfs and Beetles as well as the TDI Audi A3.
The EPA said the settlements do not resolve pending claims for civil penalties or any claims concerning 3.0 liter diesel vehicles. They also do not address any potential criminal liability. Deputy attorney general Sally Q. Yates called the settlements “an important step forward” adding “let me be clear, it is by no means the last. We will continue to follow the facts wherever they go.”
In a statement announcing the settlements, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said the company “takes our commitment to make things right very seriously and believe these agreements are a significant step forward. We appreciate the constructive engagement of all the parties, and are very grateful to our customers for their continued patience as the settlement approval process moves ahead. We know that we still have a great deal of work to do to earn back the trust of the American people. We are focused on resolving the outstanding issues and building a better company that can shape the future of integrated, sustainable mobility for our customers.”
Volkswagen’s settlement amount is far greater than other automakers’ fines for wrongdoing, CNN reports.
General Motors last year agreed to a criminal fine of $900 million for a faulty ignition switch tied to at least 124 deaths. It also paid an additional $600 million to victims and their families
BP, however, still holds the record for the largest settlement with a single entity. Last year BP agreed to pay a $20.8 billion final settlement to resolve environmental damage claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.