Santa Clara, CAVolkswagen has agreed to either fix or buy back some 500,000 VW and Audi diesel vehicles in the US equipped with illegal emissions software designed to hide nitrogen oxide emissions. This announcement follows the September 2015 recall of around the same number of vehicles.
Nitrogen oxide is a pollutant that contributes to the creation of ozone and smog, and is linked to a range of health problems, including asthma and respiratory diseases, and premature death.
According to the research firm, Kelley Blue Book, the estimated the cost of buying back all the VW cars in the US that have the defeat device software is around $7 billion.
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This agreement addresses only some of the issues, and a larger settlement agreement with the federal government, such as the size of fines, has yet to be negotiated, according to Judge Breyer of the United States District Court in San Francisco. He also stated that additional “substantial compensation” will be made available to VW owners, and that the agreement “will fully address any excess emissions and environmental consequences.” He has set a deadline of June 21 for lawyers in the case to complete details of the settlement, and said that members of the public would then have a chance to comment. Theoretically, Volkswagen could face a maximum fine of $18 billion in the US alone.
According to Volkswagen, 11 million of its cars were equipped with the defeat device software. The vehicles included in the 2015 recall are diesel Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, Golf, Passats and Audi A3 cars. All cars except the Passat are model years 2009-2015. The Passat is model year 2014-2015.
Volkwagen is currently facing a raft of lawsuits including a California Volkswagen dealership class action.