VW required to repurchase or fix falsely-marketed diesel vehicles, provide restitution and address environmental harms; Attorneys General obtain civil penalties
An agreement with Volkswagen to resolve a series of state and federal settlements will provide cash payments to affected consumers, require Volkswagen to buy back or modify certain VW and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, and prohibit Volkswagen from engaging in future unfair or deceptive acts and practices in connection with its dealings with consumers and regulators, federal and state justice officials announced Tuesday.
Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn said the settlements will benefit more than 1,700 Delaware owners and lessees of certain 2.0-liter diesel Volkswagens from model years 2009 to 2015, make available funds for environmental mitigation efforts in Delaware, as well as pay penalties.
The coordinated settlements resolve consumer protection claims raised by a multistate coalition of 44 state and jurisdiction attorneys general against Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Porsche AG and Porsche Cars, North America, Inc. – collectively referred to as Volkswagen. They also resolve actions against Volkswagen brought by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and United States Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, California, and car owners in private class action suits.
Under the settlements, Volkswagen is required to implement a restitution and recall program for more than 475,000 owners and lessees across the nation of 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, listed in the chart below at a maximum cost of just over $10 billion. Volkswagen will also pay more than $570 million to the states for violating state laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive trade practices by marketing, selling and leasing diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed defeat device software.
“This was an egregious, calculated, and intentional deception by a company affecting not only its customers but every member of the public,” Attorney General Denn said. “Customers will be able to sell their cars back to Volkswagen under this agreement, or have their cars fixed at Volkswagen’s expense if a proper fix is identified, and VW will have to pay to offset the damage it caused to the environment through its falsified emissions results as well as pay penalties for its actions.”
The investigation by state attorneys general confirmed that Volkswagen sold diesel vehicles in the United States equipped with “defeat device” software intended to circumvent applicable emissions standards for certain air pollutants, and actively concealed the existence of the defeat device from regulators and the public. Volkswagen made false statements to consumers in their marketing and advertising, misrepresenting the cars as environmentally friendly or “green” and that the cars were compliant with federal and state emissions standards, when, in fact, Volkswagen knew the vehicles emitted harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at rates many times higher than the law permitted.
Once the consumer program is approved by the court, affected Volkswagen owners will receive restitution payment of at least $5,100 and a choice between:
The consumer program also provides benefits and restitution for lessees (restitution and a no-penalty lease termination option) and sellers after September 18, 2015 when the emissions-cheating scandal was disclosed (50 percent of the restitution available to owners). Additional components of today’s settlements include:
Volkswagen will also pay $20 million to the states for their costs in investigating this matter and to establish a fund that state attorneys general can utilize for future training and initiatives, including investigations concerning emissions violations, automobile compliance, and consumer protection.
Related Topics: Attorney General Matt Denn • Delaware Department of Justice • Fraud and Consumer Protection Division • Volkswagen
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