VW 3-liter diesel updates OKed, but buyback negotiations continue

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VW Group announced yesterday it had reached a preliminary agreement with various regulators to resolve civil suits related to "defeat device" software in vehicles fitted with its 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engines.

Those cars—a variety of SUVs and sedans sold by Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen—will either be modified to comply with emission regulations or bought back from their owners.

Details of the buyback, however, are still being hashed out between VW and the plaintiffs' steering committee, with the deadline for submitting a completed agreement now set for January 31.

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The VW Group statement focused on a part of the proposed agreement that will permit modifications to more than 75 percent of the 83,000 affected vehicles to "bring them into compliance with the emissions standards to which they were certified."

The affected vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel V-6 include five different Audi models—A6, A8, and A8L TDI sedans; the A7 TDI hatchback; and the Q5 and Q7 TDI sport utility vehicles—along with the Porsche Cayenne Diesel and the VW Touareg TDI.

Neither the company nor the involved parties specified which models might be eligible for modifications.

2015 Porsche Cayenne Diesel

2015 Porsche Cayenne Diesel

Enlarge Photo

Those modifications, VW noted, must be approved by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the powerful California Air Resources Board.

Thus far, those two agencies have not certified any modifications to 2.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel engines in more than 450,000 vehicles under a similar provision in the earlier settlement reached over those cars in September.

As for the buybacks, while the company says it has reached agreement with the plaintiffs' committee on "substantial aspects of the monetary relief that eligible owners and lessees would receive," work remains to be done.

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The parties are "working to resolve the remaining issues," VW said, and federal judge Stephen Breyer has directed that details of those negotiations will remain confidential.

The next conference call on the status of negotiations between the various parties over the monetary settlement to 3-liter diesel owners will take place on Thursday, December 22.

The plaintiffs' steering committee had little further information to add to the company's statement.

2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI

2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI

Enlarge Photo

“As reported today by Judge Breyer, we have reached an agreement-in-principle with Volkswagen on substantial aspects of relief for 3.0-liter TDI Generation 1 and Generation 2 class members, and are working to resolve remaining issues," said Elizabeth Cabraser, the court-appointed lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

"We will have no further comment, as the Court has instructed the parties that its confidentiality order still applies.”

Judge Breyer also set a deadline of January 31, 2017, for the regulators, plaintiffs, and company to submit a formal, finalized agreement to the court.

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“The agreement announced by the Court today between Volkswagen and U.S. environmental regulators is another important step forward in our efforts to make things right for our customers," said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO and president of VW Group of America, adding the parties were working to reach a final settlement "as quickly as possible."

“We are committed to earning back the trust of all our stakeholders," Woebcken continued, "and thank our customers and dealers in the United States for their patience as the process moves forward.”

For full coverage since September 2015, when the issue first broke, see our full list of VW diesel scandal news stories.

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