VW paid $9.8 billion in diesel settlements to U.S. consumers

WASHINGTON — U.S. buyers of polluting Volkswagen vehicles received more than $9.8 billion in settlements, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Monday.

Volkswagen agreed to offer to buy back or repair more than 550,000 polluting diesel U.S. vehicles after it admitted in 2015 that it used secret software to cheat emissions tests.

The FTC in its final report on the settlements said more than 86% of consumers completing claims chose to return their car through a buyback or early lease termination rather than get a repair.

Volkswagen paid more than $9.5 billion to U.S. consumers, while VW diesel supplier Robert Bosch paid more than $300 million to U.S. consumers.

Most of the vehicles covered were 2.0-liter diesel vehicles. VW agreed to offer owners and people who leased the 475,000 2.0-liter vehicles between $5,100 and $10,000 in compensation, in addition to the estimated value of the vehicle.

The scandal triggered a global backlash against diesel vehicles that so far has cost VW 30 billion euros ($33.3 billion) in fines, penalties, vehicle buyback costs and other settlements.

VW in 2017 pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice and falsifying statements as part of a $4.3 billion settlement reached with the U.S. Justice Department.

Last month, a U.S. appeals court ruled VW cannot escape potential financial penalties stemming from lawsuits filed by two counties that may amount to a “staggering” additional liability, in that it allows individual counties to sue. Volkswagen vowed to seek further review by the 9th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, saying the ruling conflicts with the findings of other courts.

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