Volkswagen agrees to record $14.7 billion settlement over emissions cheating

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Volkswagen, logo, dealership Graphics Project

NEW YORK — Volkswagen’s deliberate cheating on emissions tests will cost it a record $14.7 billion. That’s far more than any other automaker has paid for wrongdoing.

Owners of the nearly 500,000 affected diesel cars will receive up to $10 billion to buy back their cars, according to documents filed in federal court in California. Volkswagen will also pay the difference between the buyback price and the excess amount left on their loans and lease payments.

In addition to the amount paid to customers, Volkswagen will have to pay $2.7 billion in environmental cleanup and $2 billion to promote zero-emission vehicles.

The cars had software installed that severely limited emissions when the cars were having their emissions tested, then dumped up to 40 times the allowable levels of some pollutants when being driven on the road. VW admitted to the wrongdoing in September.

Volkwagen faced up to $18 billion in fines for violation of the U.S. Clean Air Act, and it has already set aside that much money to settle the case.

The settlement amount dwarfs other payouts by other automakers.

General Motors paid a criminal fine of $900 million for a faulty ignition switch tied to at least 124 deaths, and an additional $600 million to victims and their families. It also faces a class action lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of car owners.

Toyota agreed in 2012 to pay a $1.2 billion fine, and settled with car owners for an additional $1.1 billion in the unintended acceleration case.

By David Goldman and Chris Isidore

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