German Automaker Hit for $14.7 Billion over Its Diesel Deceits
Agreements With U.S. and California to Compensate Consumers
And Back Programs Supporting Zero-Emission Vehicle Technology
Volkswagen will have to spend as much as $10 billion to compensate consumers and $4.7 billion “to mitigate pollution and make investments that support zero-emission vehicle technology,” the U.S. EPA said today, “to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers.” updated June 29
Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009 through 2015 vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines sold or leased in the U.S., the agency said, and will spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program.
Vehicles affected include VW’s Jetta, Passat, Golf, Beetle and TDI Audi A3 cars.
$1 Billion for California Mitigation
Separately, the California Air Resources Board cited VW’s use of illegal “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests in 71,000 2.0-liter diesel cars and said the company will spend more than $1 billion for recompense in the state.
The money for California includes approximately $380 million for projects to reduce smog-producing pollution by incentivizing clean heavy-duty vehicles and equipment in disadvantaged communities, CARB said, and $800 million in investments to advance California’s nation-leading zero-emissions vehicle programs.
‘A Good Deal’
“This is a good deal for California’s environment and for California consumers,” CARB chair Mary Nichols said in an agency statement. “It will bring over a billion dollars of projects to California to supercharge our expanding zero-emission vehicle market, and fully mitigate the environmental harm to our air as a result of VW’s cheating.”
“Today’s settlement restores clean air protections that Volkswagen so blatantly violated,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in the federal agency’s announcement. “It secures billions of dollars in investments to make our air and our auto industry even cleaner for generations of Americans to come.
‘An Unprecedented Assault on Our Atmosphere’
“This agreement shows that EPA is committed to upholding standards to protect public health, enforce the law, and to find innovative ways to protect clean air.”
“By duping the regulators, Volkswagen turned nearly half a million American drivers into unwitting accomplices in an unprecedented assault on our atmosphere,” U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said in the EPA release.
The End of the Matter? ‘By No Means’
“This partial settlement marks a significant first step towards holding Volkswagen accountable for what was a breach of its legal duties and a breach of the public’s trust,” she said.
“And while this announcement is an important step forward, let me be clear, it is by no means the last. We will continue to follow the facts wherever they go.”
- U.S. EPA’s Volkswagen penalty announcement
- California Air Resources Board’s Volkswagen penalty announcement
VW Vows to Change
Volkswagen said immediately after the emissions control scandal broke this past autumn that it would step up its efforts to develop electric drive vehicles (F&F, October 20).
The company this month launched an initiative dubbed “Together – Strategy 2025,” bruited as “the biggest change process in the company’s history.” VW pledged to introduce more than 30 new e-vehicles by 2025 with an annual unit sales target of two to three million, and to develop battery technology, digitalization and autonomous driving as new competencies.
“We are also continuing our intensive efforts to enhance the environmental compatibility of our diesel and gasoline models,” Volkswagen AG CEO Matthias Müller said in a release last week.
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Source: U.S. EPA & California ARB, and Volkswagen, with Fleets & Fuels follow-up