U.S. approves first fix for 70,000 polluting VW diesel vehicles

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By David Shepardson

A second phase of the fix will start about a year from now
when VW will install more software updates and new hardware,
including a diesel particulate filter, diesel oxidation catalyst
and NOx catalyst.

The vehicles covered by the approved fix are the 2015 diesel
Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat and 2015
diesel Audi A3.

The German automaker agreed to buy back up to 475,000
polluting 2009-2015 vehicles in June at a cost of as much as
$10.033 billion, or fix them if regulators approved.

In October, a federal judge approved VW’s settlement with
regulators and U.S. owners of 475,000 polluting diesel vehicles
with smaller 2.0-liter engines, including an offer to buy back
or fix all of the cars.

VW is still waiting for approval for fixes for about 400,000
remaining 2.0 liter vehicles.

“With today’s approval, VW can offer vehicle owners the
choice to keep and fix their car, or to have it bought back,”
the EPA said in a statement, adding that test data demonstrated
the fix would “not affect vehicle fuel economy, reliability, or

Volkswagen said Friday about 58,000 of those vehicles are in
retail customers hands. The automaker has been eager to win
approval so it can offer fixes and deter some owners who have
been intentionally damaging vehicles before selling them back to
the company.

VW will now be able to resell diesel vehicles that they
repurchased once they are fixed.

VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said the approval was “an
important step” and will notify owners so they can implement
fixes as soon as possible.

Volkswagen has now agreed to spend as much as $17.5 billion
in the United States to resolve claims from owners as well as
federal and state regulators over polluting diesel vehicles.

Reuters reported Friday that Volkswagen is in talks and is
close to an agreement with the Justice Department to pay more
than $3 billion to resolve civil and criminal allegations
stemming from its diesel cheating scandal.

Last month, VW also agreed to fix or buy back 80,000
polluting 3.0-liter diesel vehicles sold. The settlement deal
covered luxury VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles with 3.0-liter
engines and includes a buyback offer for 20,000.

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