It’s been rough going for the past 10 months—not just for Volkswagen, as it struggles to extricate itself from the diesel emissions mess of its own making, but for owners of the affected models.
Those owners of VW models with the 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder engine have had to deal with the knowledge that they’re polluting many, many times the legal EPA test limit of NOx—and decide whether, in their right conscience, they should be driving their vehicles. Yet now, with an important courtroom step this week, they’re one solid step closer to getting either a check or a fix that brings their vehicles into compliance.
A few weeks ago, Volkswagen laid out the scenario by which it could make good for hundreds of thousands of owners of products with this engine. Now the federal judge who presides over the civil claims issue has granted preliminary approval for Volkswagen’s plan. VW says that it will begin its remedy program as soon as the federal court grants final approval. Through the buyback plan, Volkswagen will pay up to 475,000 owners the “fair replacement value” of their vehicles as of September 17, 2015.
In a statement about the preliminary approval, as it relates to the fix and those who want to keep their cars, Volkswagen said that it “continues to work closely with the EPA and CARB on an approved emissions modification for each of the 2.0L TDI engine vehicles.”
Those who choose to get an emissions fix on the vehicles will get between $5100 and $10,000 in compensation for the reduced value—and with those software and hardware modifications all yet unconfirmed, it’s possible they can expect some loss in performance and fuel efficiency.
Volkswagen also reiterated that it’s trying to secure approval for a remedy regarding the Audi-engineered 3.0-liter TDI V-6, which is featured in a range of Audi, VW, and Porsche models. Earlier this month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) rejected a plan to fix them, citing incomplete data, which possibly pushes the timeframe for that fix well into next year.
The final approval hearing is set for October 18. Clearing that final stage could depend on California approval of VW’s fix. A hearing for the 3.0-liter TDI issue is scheduled for August 25.
Although customers may soon see some resolution, the drama continues for Volkswagen, which has suits from several individual states to settle. The customer remedy is expected to cost more than $10 billion, and as part of a deal with the U.S. Justice Department, the automaker is paying out $2 billion over a ten-year period to fund electric-vehicle charging infrastructure and other projects that curb tailpipe emissions.