There’s good news for some VW owners as VW settles 2-liter TDI vehicle emissions suits. Let us show you what type of compensation and how and when you’ll receive it.
There’s good news for some VW owners as VW settles 2-liter TDI vehicle emissions suits. There are still two sections of the suit that remain unsettled. In addition to financial restitution for current & former owners and lessees, the automaker has agreed to set up a trust that will fund environmental remediation actions to reduce the gases produced by its tampered-with vehicles. VW has also agreed to pay all attorneys’ fees and costs once the court signs off on those figures. This benefits Class Members as the money they receive as part of the settlement will be the total amount agreed upon, instead of that amount minus the fees and costs. The company has reserved approximately $10B (yes, billion with a “B”) to cover settlement compensation.
Our intention is to assist class members in determining what they’re getting under the settlement, as well as the options the settlement offers. The Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement on July 26 and issued an amended order of preliminary approval on July 29. The amounts/options in this article require the Court’s final approval before payouts can begin.
According to sources, “The Court will hold a final fairness hearing to finally determine whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate on October 18, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. in Courtroom 6, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California. The deadline for Class Members to file a Notice of Intent to Appear at final fairness hearing is October 4, 2016.”
There is a convenient way to determine if your vehicle is part of the settlement and if yes, non-binding estimates of your possible compensation. To do so, visit Volkswagen/Audi Diesel Emissions Settlement Program, answer a few questions and enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
The VW Class Settlement Program is aimed at compensating all owners and lessees of Volkswagen or Audi 2.0-liter TDI vehicles who either owned, leased, sold or bought one of these vehicles as of September 18, 2015, the date the emissions scandal became public knowledge. These vehicles are referred to as Eligible Vehicles in the settlement.
VW recognizes that people sell cars and that some of the Eligible Vehicles may have been sold to others during the ongoing litigation. Therefore, the Court set up three categories of Class Members. We’ll examine what each class could potentially receive.
- Eligible Owners
- Eligible Sellers
- Eligible Lessees
The Court estimates that most Eligible Owners (those who owned one of the affected vehicles as of September 18, 2015) still own those vehicles. The settlement gives these Eligible Owners two options:
- Buyback: VW will buy your vehicle from you using the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Clean Trade in value as of September 2015 as soon as the settlement is given final approval. The figure will be adjusted by mileage and options and is referred to as the Vehicle Value. Additionally, you’ll receive Owner Restitution. This payment is 20% of the Vehicle Value figure plus $2,986.73. According to the preliminary settlement, the smallest amount Eligible Owners will receive as Owner Restitution is $5,100.00 in addition to the buyback Vehicle Value. Certain Class Member could see as much as $10,000.00 in Owner Restitution before the inclusion of the buyback Vehicle Value.
- If the Eligible Owners prefer, they may choose a second option. That option is waiting until the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approve engine modifications to cut back on vehicle emissions, known as Approved Emissions Modification. At the point that such a modification becomes available, Eligible Owners can decide if they want the Approved Emissions Modification or the Buyback option.
Eligible Sellers are those who sold their affected vehicles after September 18, 2015. The settlement splits the Owner Restitution (not the Buyback) between the Eligible Seller and the current Eligible Owner. The split is about 50/50 in most instances.
NOTE: If you are an Eligible Seller, you have until September 16, 2016 to come forward and identify yourself or else you will lose your Eligible Seller status and any claim to Owner Restitution. You can identify yourself at Volkswagen/Audi Diesel Emissions Settlement Program.
ANOTHER NOTE: Eligible Sellers and Eligible Owners lose that status if they sell their vehicles after June 28, 2016.
Eligible Lessees, those with an active vehicle lease on September 18, 2015, also have two options from which to choose:
- Lease Termination with no early termination penalties; or
- Accepting the Approved Emissions Modification and keeping the vehicle.
As with all Class Actions, Class Members have the option excluding themselves from the Class. If you choose to do so, you can still get the Approved Emissions Modification when it becomes available. However, you will lose any opportunity for the Buyback, Lease Termination and Owner Restitution.
Schedule of Settlement Benefits
Once the Court issues final approval of the settlement (on October 18, 2016) VW will:
- Buyback vehicles within 90 days of the Eligible Owner’s accepting the Buyback offer;
- Give a Lease Termination within 45 days of the Eligible Lessee’s accepting the company’s Lease Termination Offer;
- Make the Approved Emissions Modifications (once the EPA/CARB approves the modifications) within 90 days of the Eligible Owner’s/Lessee’s accepting the modification offer.
There are states that will and won’t accept money via the EPA/CARB settlement. Those states that do accept such funds can’t refuse your request to register your vehicle in that state due to the emissions issue. States that do not accept such funds are not bound by the settlement, however, you will more than likely still be able to legally drive your vehicle during the time you wait for your Buyback or Approved Emissions Modification.
As mentioned, VW has also created at $2.7B trust. This money will be used to help fund nationwide programs aimed at reducing atmospheric levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx). The reduction is supposed to be equal to or greater than the NOx levels put out by the vehicles involved in the lawsuit.
The company has also agreed to pony up $2B for the promotion of non-polluting vehicles, knows as “zero emissions vehicles” or “ZEVs”. This $2B is in addition to any money the company had previously budgeted for such vehicles. The Trust payments and ZEV investments are to be overseen by the EPA and CARB, with the Court handling enforcement.