Volkswagen AG will likely secure a U.S. judge’s final sign-off on its $14.7 billion settlement with drivers as it continues to seek regulators’ approval of a fix for 482,000 pollution-spewing vehicles still on U.S. roads.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco said he “strongly” favors the settlement requiring VW to buy back cars with 2.0-liter diesel engines equipped with so-called defeat devices to cheat pollution-control tests. Breyer, after listening Tuesday to critics of the deal including more than 20 car owners, said he will issue a ruling before Oct. 25.
VW reached the settlement covering the 2.0-liter engines in June with consumers and regulators including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has yet to approve any of VW’s proposals to fix those cars, said a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. VW’s negotiations with the EPA have been fluid, said the person, who asked not to be identified.
The settlement allows car owners to choose either a buyback or repair, if one is approved. VW’s settlement negotiations with U.S. regulators and car owners are continuing for vehicles with larger 3.0-liter diesel engines also equipped with the emissions-cheating software.
The automaker has earmarked almost $19.6 billion to extricate itself from the emissions-cheating scandal. That includes $1.2 billion to its U.S. franchise dealers, along with $86 million to California and $603 million to other states over violations of consumer protection laws. VW still faces criminal probes, shareholder claims and environmental lawsuits by multiple states as well as lawsuits and a criminal probe in Europe.