Volkswagen to Buy Back Diesel Vehicles, Fund Clean Air Grant Program

Automaker will pay up to $7,000 to owners of the affected vehicles

Volkswagen to Buy Back Diesel Vehicles, Fund Clean Air Grant Program
Image: Volkswagen
June 23, 2016

Volkswagen may finally be on the verge of paying up for its 2015 "defeat device" emissions scandal.

According to Bloomberg News, the German automaker is in the final stages of negotiating a $10 billion compensation package to settle multiple U.S. lawsuits. The rumored terms would require Volkswagen to pay up to $7,000 to owners of the affected diesel vehicles, as well as funding a grant program to offset air pollution. Consumers with leases will have the option to terminate their agreements early.

About 482,000 impacted cars are in circulation in the United States. Owners will receive a cash payment between $1,000 and $7,000, depending on the vehicle's condition. If the manufacturer isn't able to repair every vehicle, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may demand a buyback program or additional investment into the air pollution grant program.

Volkswagen has admitted that, going back to 2009, it installed defeat devices its diesel vehicles to pass EPA and California Air Resources Board emission tests. The devices concealed the fact that the engines were releasing up to 40 times the permitted amounts of smog-forming nitrogen oxides.

An assessment conducted by environmental regulators will determine the amount of money Volkswagen will be required to pour into the environmental fund. This will be decided based on calculations of how much of the smog-forming gases the affected vehicles have released, in addition to the expected future pollution from consumers who don't repair or sell back their vehicles.

Volkswagen also faces charges of false advertising from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).