2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SE
With a judge set to weigh in on the settlement VW Group negotiated with its 3.0-liter V-6 diesel owners, Volkswagen seems to have settled most of the U.S. legal claims stemming from its diesel-emission cheating scandal.
Total costs in the U.S. alone are now more than $20 billion, and among other penalties, VW has pleaded guilty to three felony counts of criminal misconduct under U.S. law.
But another settlement with VW diesel owners has gotten much less attention.
It's by global auto supplier Bosch, which sells billions of dollars of parts to VW Group all over the world—and which wrote the "defeat device" software VW used to trick the EPA tests.
According to court documents filed two days ago when the 3.0-liter V-6 diesel settlement was revealed, the German company will pay out $327.5 million to U.S. owners of Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen diesel vehicles.
Under the settlement, $163.3 million of that is for the owners of almost half a million 2.0-liter 4-cylinder TDI diesels sold by VW and Audi between 2009 and 2015.
Consumer Reports tests 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI diesel in 'cheat mode,' October 2015 [video frame]
Most 2.0-liter diesel owners will receive $350 each. The vast majority of their cars are expected to be sold back to VW, although 2015 models may now legally be modified.
The 2.0-liter diesel cars include the Audi A3 TDI and the TDI models of the Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, and Passat.
Bosch's tab for the smaller group of 80,000 3.0-liter V-6 diesels—sold by Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen—is far higher per car, at $113.3 million.
Owners of those vehicles are expected to receive $1,500 each from Bosch.
The 3.0-liter diesel cars include TDI models of the Audi Q5 and Q7 SUVs and A6, A7, and A8 sedans; the Porsche Cayenne Diesel; and the Volkswagen Touareg TDI.
2014 Audi A8 TDI
Bosch's role in the VW diesel scandal was covered in detail yesterday by The New York Times.
In that article, the newspaper noted that none of Volkswagen's thousands of engineers knew how to write the "defeat device" software that would cheat the emission tests.
The company was deeply nervous about that role, the article said.
It noted that Bosch wrote a letter in June 2008 "demanding that Volkswagen agree to pay any penalties if they were discovered using a defeat device."
Bosch said in court documents that the letter has been misinterpreted and applied to different engines—those involved in the Volkswagen diesel scandal—than the ones the company intended it to refer to.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
In agreeing to the settlement, Bosch specifically did not admit any wrongdoing or accept any liability.
The company said it had chosen to settle the cases with both diesel-vehicle owners and the U.S. Federal Trade Commision to allow it to focus on a "transformation process" on which it has embarked.
The proposed Bosch settlement must still be approved by a judge, who is scheduled to consider it at a hearing on February 14.
Bosch's woes in connection to the Volkswagen diesel scandal are far from over, however.
The company is still the subject of criminal inquiries in the U.S. and Germany, and the target of numerous civil suits from Volkswagen owners in several European countries.
Bosch will “continue to defend its interests in all other civil and criminal law proceedings," it said yesterday in a statement, and that it would "cooperate comprehensively with the investigating authorities in Germany and in other countries.”