A federal appeals court upheld Volkswagen's $10.03 billion settlement with the owners of nearly 500,000 polluting diesel vehicles announced in 2016. In total, Volkswagen AG has agreed to pay more than $25 billion in the United States for claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles. The buybacks will continue through the end of 2019.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said, in dismissing a number of objections to the settlement, that it "delivered tangible, substantial benefits to class members, seemingly the equivalent of — or superior to —those obtainable after successful litigation, and was arrived at after a momentous effort."
The ruling pertained to the settlement covering the owners and former owners of 475,000 polluting 2.0-litre vehicles. VW agreed to offer owners of the 2.0 litre vehicles between $5,100 and $10,000 in compensation, in addition to the estimated value of the vehicle. Volkswagen declined to comment on the appeals court decision.
The German automaker admitted in September 2015 to secretly installing software in nearly 500,000 U.S. cars to cheat government exhaust emissions tests. The vehicles had emitted up to 40 times the legally allowable pollutants.
Last month, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested in Germany, but he has not been charged. VW suspended him and named an interim CEO. Volkswagen has paid more than $7.4 billion to buy back about 350,000 of 475,000 2.0-litre U.S. diesel vehicles.
Last month, VW said it would pay owners of some diesel vehicles up to $1,000 in additional payments to settle state lawsuits in Vermont and Arizona. In 2016, VW reached a $603 million consumer fraud settlement with 44 U.S. states. Since then it has settled with five other states - including Vermont - worth more than $120 million. The only state with a pending consumer fraud action is New Mexico.