Friday, April 22, 2016

Volkswagen reaches settlement with US over emissions cheating.

The CBS Evening News (4/21, story 7, 0:20, Pelley, 11.17M) reported that Volkswagen on Thursday “agreed to buy back or fix nearly half a million diesel vehicles that were fraudulently rigged to pass emissions tests that they should have failed.”
        NBC Nightly News (4/21, story 6, 1:50, Holt, 16.61M) reported that Volkswagen “reached a broad settlement to compensate owners of diesel cars that came rigged with technology to cheat emissions test.” NBC (Costello) added that “a company that built its reputation on reliability is now paying the price for fraud,” as the automaker “admits tricking the emissions test, while polluting at 40 times the illegal limit.” A federal judge “approved the broad outlines of VW’s plan to compensate the half million customers in America who bought the effected models including certain 2.0 liter Jettas, Beetles, Passats, Golfs, and Audis A-3s.”
        The New York Times (4/21, Ewing, Subscription Publication, 12.03M) reports the settlement, announced in federal court in San Francisco, “left open numerous legal and financial issues stemming from the carmaker’s admission that it rigged diesel vehicles to cheat on pollution tests.” Attorneys “are still negotiating the fines that Volkswagen must pay, as well as the compensation that owners will receive.” US District Judge Charles R. Breyer set a June 21 deadline for Volkswagen “to settle those questions with the federal government as well as lawyers for vehicle owners.” The Wall Street Journal (4/21, B1, Randazzo, Subscription Publication, 6.74M) reports that Judge Breyer said the automaker plans to offer consumers the option of having their vehicles either bought back by Volkswagen or modified to meet emissions standards.
        USA Today (4/21, Bomey, 5.45M) reports that the settlement is between Volkswagen and the Environmental Protection Agency, California regulators, including the California attorney general’s office, “and consumers over a plan to fix or buy back nearly half a million vehicles that violated emissions standards” The deal “includes ‘substantial compensation’ for owners of 2-liter diesel cars that were fitted with software to cheat emissions regulations,” Judge Breyer said. The “accord could finally bring about a solution to a crisis that has bedeviled Volkswagen engineers, who have been unable to deliver a fix that was acceptable to the EPA.”
        The Los Angeles Times (4/21, Peltz, 4.1M) reports that “the plan’s specifics are still being ironed out,” and “the proposal applies only to the 2.0-liter diesel vehicles involved in the case – including certain Jetta, Golf, Beetle and Passat models – which make up the bulk of the rigged cars. ‘It is a fairly sketchy framework at this point,’ senior analyst Michelle Krebs said,” adding that “the cars’ owners ‘will have to carefully weigh all of their options, which include having Volkswagen buy back their cars, have them repaired if that is possible or return their lease cars.’”
        The AP (4/21) reports that the deal “will include a fund for corrective efforts over the excess pollution, and Volkswagen will be required to commit other money to promote green automotive technology, said Breyer, who has not formally signed off on the deal yet.” Volkswagen “would spend just over $1 billion to compensate owners but did not detail a vehicle fix in the agreement,” according to an unnamed source.

        Politico (4/21, Powers, 1.07M) reports that “the emissions cheating scandal, which came to light seven months ago, has had a devastating impact on Volkswagen’s international reputation, with U.S. regulators, environmental advocacy groups, and consumers calling for blood as the company tried to nail down a compensation and penalties package.” Volkswagen “struck an agreement with European nations months ago to fix its vehicles there, but the company has found it much more challenging to meet the exacting requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency – an agency that, in its own right, has faced significant criticism for failing to catch Volkswagen’s cheating during the U.S. emissions testing process.” Reuters (4/21, Sage, Shepardson) also reports. 

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