Volkswagen has agreed to pay nearly $570 million to consumers for misleading how environmentally friendly their vehicles were.
Attorney General Doug Peterson announced the settlement, part of a series of settlements with other states and the federal government.
Under the agreement, Volkswagen will provide cash payments to affected consumers, buy back or modify certain VW and Audio 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, and end deceptive advertising.
An investigation by attorneys general throughout the country confirmed Volkswagen sold more than 570,000 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles in the United States equipped with “defeat device” software. The software was designed to circumvent emissions standards without being detected by regulators. Volkswagen falsely claimed their vehicles were environmentally friendly or “green.” The engines, in fact, emitted harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at rates many times higher than the law permitted.
The coordinated settlements resolve consumer protection claims raised by a coalition of 43 states and jurisdictions against Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Porsche AG and Porsche Cars, North America, Inc. – collectively referred to as Volkswagen. They also resolve actions against Volkswagen brought by the EPA and the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, California, and car owners in private class action suits.
Under the settlements, Volkswagen will be required to implement a restitution and recall program for more than 475,000 owners and lessees of 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, of the model year 2009 through 2015 listed at a maximum cost of just over $10 billion. This includes over 2,000 vehicles in Nebraska.
Upon approval of the court, Volkswagen owners affected will receive at least $5,100 and a choice between:
A buy back of the vehicle (based on pre-scandal NADA value); or
A modification to reduce NOx emissions provided that Volkswagen can develop a modification acceptable to regulators. Owners who choose the modification option would also receive an Extended Emission Warranty; and a Lemon Law-type remedy to protect against the possibility that the modification causes subsequent problems.
In addition, Volkswagen will pay $2.7 billion into a trust to support environmental programs throughout the country to reduce emissions of NOx. Nebraska is eligible to receive $11,528,812.23.
Volkswagen will pay to the states more than $1,000 per car for repeated violations of state consumer protection laws; $570 million nationwide. Nebraska will receive $2,888,600.
Volkswagen will also pay $20 million to the states to offset the costs of the investigation.