US judge approves $15bn VW emissions scandal settlement

The owners of 475,000 cars can now request the carmaker buys their vehicle back as part of the deal agreed in the US.

A US court has approved Volkswagen’s $15bn (£12.3bn) settlement package for almost half a million customers in America over the diesel emissions scandal.

Under the deal, signed off by a federal judge, the owners of 475,000 VWs and Audis with qualifying diesel engines can now either have their vehicle repaired or formally request the company buys it back.

In addition, consumers can also net compensation of up to $10,000 (£8,200) in cash.

The settlement is not the end of the road for the group’s troubles in the US as it still yet to agree terms with the owners of 3-litre diesel models.

It faces regulatory action too – relating to the fitting of software designed to fool emissions tests.

The company is also under pressure to extend similar deals to 8.5 million customers affected in Europe – including 1.2 million in the UK – a move it has resisted on legal grounds.

The European Commission announced last month that VW had committed to repairs of all models affected in the EU by autumn 2017.

Consumer groups argue that is not good enough as owners were misled on emission levels, with resale values also damaged by the cheating revelations.

Laws covering VW’s behaviour in the US are widely seen as more strict.

While signing the order in San Francisco, District Judge Charles Breyer said: “The settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate.”

The majority of the eligible owners had registered for the settlement scheme, according to the court, with over 3,000 opting out.

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