And lo, that which was rumored last night has come to fruition this morning. On Tuesday morning, Volkswagen Group proposed a number of companion settlements with the Department of Justice representing the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Federal Trade Commission, more than 40 state attorneys general, and a class-action complaint from people who bought 2.0L diesel cars from Volkswagen and Audi.
The amount of the settlements will tally more than $15 billion, with $10.033 billion going toward compensating consumers. In a conference call on Tuesday morning, Elizabeth Cabraser, the court-appointed lead counsel for Volkswagen consumer plaintiffs, detailed exactly how the German automaker would compensate its customers after the company was discovered last September to have included illegal software on many of its recent diesel models. The software helped the diesel vehicles pass federally required emissions tests in a lab but turned off the cars’ emissions control systems while under normal driving conditions, causing significantly increased levels of nitrogen oxide to spew on open roads.
Cabraser noted that owners of certain diesel VW Golfs, Passats, Jettas, Beetles, and Audi A3s would be eligible for a buyback equal to the amount the car was worth in September 2015—a range from a low of around $12,000 to a high of about $44,000. The buybacks would be accepted “regardless of condition,” Cabraser said, “as long as it’s drivable.”