It seemed like it would never happen. But today in a federal courtroom in Calfornia, Volkswagen and the U.S. Justice Department announced they have reached an agreement over the 570,000 2.0L diesel vehicles equipped with illegal software that cheated EPA emission tests.
The preliminary "agreement in principle" states the Volkswagen will give owners the option of selling their affected TDI vehicles back to VW or have the vehicle modified to meet U.S. emission standards. Those who are leasing a TDI model can cancel their lease agreement.
The agreement also includes two different compensation funds. The first will be for owners that will give them a substantial amount of compensation - the amount is currently unknown. The second will be for “appropriate remediation efforts” against the excess NOx emissions the affected Volkswagen diesel models emitted. Volkswagen will also be required to promote "green automotive technology."
One other detail revealed in the hearing is that Volkswagen will be settling all of the class-action lawsuits against it in the coming weeks.
"Volkswagen is committed to winning back the trust of its customers, its dealers, its regulators and all of America," said VW lawyer Robert Giuffra.
The agreements are "an important step forward on the road to making things right," added Giuffra.
The agreement must be finalized by June 21st. A court hearing will follow on July 26th discussing the full details. In the meantime, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has issued a gag order on the discussion of the agreement.
As the for the Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche models equipped with the 3.0L TDI V6, negotiations between Volkswagen and Justice Department are continuing.
This agreement is the beginning for Volkswagen to begin closing this dark and devasting chapter. There are still fines that need to levy against the German automaker, along with various investigations that need to be finished up. But it seems the madness is starting to come to an end.
Press Release is on Page 2
Volkswagen has reached an agreement in principle with the US authorities
In connection with the diesel issue, Volkswagen AG confirms that an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice (Environmental Division), the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), with the full involvement of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has been reached in the United States. This agreement in principle will be incorporated into binding consent decrees by the Department of Justice and the FTC in the coming weeks.
Furthermore, Volkswagen has reached an agreement on the basic features of a settlement with the class action plaintiffs in the lawsuit in San Francisco. This agreement will be incorporated into a comprehensive settlement in the coming weeks.
The judge presiding over today's court hearing in San Francisco, Charles R. Breyer, expressly welcomed this development.
The arrangements in the making in the United States will have no legal bearing on proceedings outside of the United States.
Ongoing investigations by the Department of Justice, Criminal Division, and the State Attorneys General are not prejudiced by these agreements in principle.