A spokesperson by the German auto-maker, Volkswagen, confirmed today that the company had finally reached an agreement with the authorities on the emission cheating lawsuit. The organization said they offered to pay $15 billion in fines for violation of the U.S. Clean Air Act. However, the officials had initially sued the company for $18 billion, but the defending lawyers argued the process had already cost the organization that difference.
The spokesperson also said that Volkswagen was going to hold a press conference tomorrow to give more details on the settlement.
There is a lot of people that bought Volkswagen cars without knowing the vehicles had a 2-liter engine that violates the regulations. Accordingly, the company is expected to pay between $5000 to 10,000 to get the car fixed. Also, the customers can instead have the company buy their cars, but the market had changed since last year when they bought it. That is why the buy-back price would be the one at the time of the purchase. This part of the process is estimated to cost around $10,000 billion summing up the legal fees and fines. This is the biggest amount of money a company has had to pay in a similar settlement.
The offer is in place, but according to USATODAY, the settlement has yet to be approved by a judge, thus tomorrow’s confirmation.
The government is setting an example for future violators
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established to look for different ways to protect the environment. Since then, the federal agency has been working hard to create a lot of regulations, in particular on the emission of greenhouse gasses. Car makers have to abide by the rules and work with engines that don’t pollute the environment with diesel or any other element. To enforce the regulations, EPA has created a protocol to overview the manufacturing processes and to test the final product.
The federal agency started suspecting the German company after evaluating their diesel emission numbers. The results were irregular in a lot of units. After a long and extensive investigation, they discovered the company had installed software that messed with the tests’ results. The software knew when the engine was under evaluation, and it made modifications to enter the proper levels. However, on the road, these 2-liter engines emitted 40 times more pollutants than the law allows.
Volkswagen directors immediately denied the claims, but the evidence was there. After there was no doubt that the engines had been tampered with, the leaders of the German manufacturing house said they knew nothing about it, and that they had opened an (ongoing) investigation to pinpoint the people behind the deception.
EPA is not giving the company a rest. It seems like the federal agency is making an example out of it. The agency is still going after Volkswagen for its 3-liter engines which are not included in the current agreement. So even if the settlement gets a green light, the legal process is far from over.
Source: USA Today