The Volkswagen settlement: What you need to know


In one of the largest consumer settlements ever, Volkswagen has agreed to pay $14.7 billion because of the systemic cheating on emissions tests that was revealed last year.

Terms of the VW settlement

The settlement impacts 475,000 VW owners of 2-liter diesels who have one of the following vehicles:

  • 2013-2015 VW Beetle
  • 2010-2015 VW Golf
  • 2009-2015 VW Jetta
  • 2012-2015 VW Passat
  • 2010-2013 and 2015 Audi A3

If you owned an affected model as of Sept. 18, 2015 or later acquired one, there are two basic routes you can go with the settlement.

You can either choose to have VW buy your car back or attempt to fix it to bring it into compliance with EPA emissions standards.

No matter which way you go, you will receive a cash payment of between $5,100 and $10,000 from the German automaker.

“We take our commitment to make things right very seriously and believe these agreements are a significant step forward,” Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen, said in a statement.

“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.”

Buyback option

If you choose the buyback option, you’ll receive anywhere from $12,500 to a maximum of $44,000, depending on age, condition and mileage of your vehicle. This money is in addition to the between $5,100 and $10,000 that the German automaker is paying all owners of the vehicles listed above.

Resale value of VWs fell off a cliff when news of the scandal first broke last year. So Volkswagen has agreed to buy back cars at the pre-scandal prices.

(If you leased the car, your lease will be terminated in full with no cost to you and no penalties.)

Modification of car

If you choose the modification option, your future is a bit cloudier. VW will have to fix the car by modifying the software that allowed it to beat emissions tests in the first place. But the exact method by which that will be done is as yet unknown.

VW will begin proposing fixes by November, so hang tight. Any and all fixes will have to be approved by the EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board).

This much is sure: You too will get the between $5,100 and $10,000 that the German automaker is paying all owners of the vehicles even though you’ll get to keep you car after it’s fixed.

What’s next?

The terms of the settlement are preliminary, pending final approval from U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in California.

If they are accepted as they currently stand, VW will be required to have 85% of the cars either fixed or off the road by July 2019.

If you have one of VW’s 3-liter diesel vehicles, this settlement does not yet impact you. Wait for news of further settlement terms to be released in the coming days.

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