US judge rubber-stamps Volkswagen's 'Dieselgate' settlement

475,000 Americans will get trade-in value plus $5k to $10k compensation

Volkswagen's proposed US “Dieselgate” remedies can go into effect, a US judge said, approving the disgraced auto-maker's US$14.7 billion settlement.

Charles Breyer of the US District Court in San Francisco signed off on VW's offer to around 475,000 owners of 2-litre diesel Audis and Volkswagens that ran software to deliver low nitrous oxide emissions during tests, reverting to a dirty high-power mode during normal driving.

Reuters reports that owners will receive the trade-in value for vehicles, assessed at pre-scandal levels, along with between $5,100 and $10,000 additional compensation.

Breyer said that the offer “adequately and fairly compensates” owners, adding that immediate settlement is preferable to drawn-out lawsuits.

Owners that decline the buy-back will be offered modifications instead. Other provisions in the settlement include funds for environmental programs, emission reduction, and promotion of zero-emission vehicles.

The scandal has engulfed Volkswagen for more than a year, with the first accusations emerging in September 2015 that its diesels weren't as clean as the company claimed.

Only vehicles with the 2.0 litre engine sold between 2009 and 2015 are covered by this settlement (including Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat and Audi A3s).

The buyback should begin in mid-November.

VW still faces ongoing criminal investigations, and is yet to reach a settlement covering 3.0 litre engines. Sixteen other US states are pursuing separate actions.

Not to mention all the trouble the company faces in other jurisdictions – this will wind on for years. ®

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