U.S. judge grants preliminary approval to VW, Bosch settlements

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By David Shepardson | WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON A federal judge on Tuesday granted
preliminary approval to a plan for Volkswagen AG to
pay at least $1.22 billion to fix or buy back nearly 80,000
polluting 3.0-liter diesel vehicles in the United States over
the German automaker’s emissions-cheating scandal.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco also
agreed at a court hearing to grant preliminary approval to
German auto supplier Robert Bosch GmbH’s separate
settlement to pay $327.5 million to U.S. diesel VW owners.

Volkswagen, the best-selling automaker worldwide in 2016,
could be forced to pay up to $4.04 billion if regulators do not
approve fixes for all 3.0 liter luxury Porsche, Audi and VW
diesel vehicles in the settlement. Breyer will hold a May 11
hearing on whether to grant final approval.

In total, VW has now agreed to spend up to $25 billion in
the United States to address claims from owners, environmental
regulators, U.S. states and dealers and to make buyback offers.

Volkswagen is set to plead guilty on Feb. 24 in Detroit to
three felony counts under a plea agreement to resolve U.S.
charges it installed secret software in vehicles to allow them
to emit pollution up to 40 times the legal limit.

VW previously agreed to spend up to $10.03 billion to buy
back up to 475,000 polluting 2.0-liter vehicles that have
software that allowed them to evade emissions rules in testing.
The 3.0 liter vehicles have an undeclared auxiliary emissions
system that allowed the vehicles to emit up to nine times
allowable limits.

VW said Tuesday that it has received claims from 360,000
current and former 2.0-liter owners and has made settlement
offers to more than 300,000 owners.

The German automaker still faces claims from investors,
suits from some U.S. states and some owners who have opted out
of the class-actions settlement, along with pending
investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
and German prosecutors.

As part of a $4.3 billion settlement with U.S. regulators,
the German automaker agreed to sweeping reforms, new audits and
oversight by an independent monitor for three years to resolve
diesel emissions-cheating investigations.

The United States has also charged seven current and former
VW executives with wrongdoing.

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