SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in San Francisco said he’s strongly inclined to approve a nearly $15 billion settlement over Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer made the comments at a hearing Tuesday to determine whether the deal is fair to consumers and should receive final approval. He didn’t immediately issue a decision after hearing from Volkswagen owners opposed the settlement.
Breyer says he wants to consider objections to determine whether to recommend any changes and will issue a final ruling by Oct. 25.
The settlement calls for the German automaker to spend up to $10 billion to buy back or repair about 475,000 Volkswagens and Audi vehicles with 2-liter diesel engines and pay their owners an additional $5,100 to $10,000 each.
It also includes billions in environmental mitigation and investments to promote zero-emissions vehicles.
Several angry Volkswagen owners told a federal judge in San Francisco that a proposed $10 billion settlement does not adequately compensate them for the automaker’s emissions fraud.
The settlement calls for Volkswagen to spend up to $10 billion to buy back or repair about 475,000 Volkswagens and Audi vehicles with 2-liter diesel engines and pay their owners an additional $5,100 to $10,000 each.
Some owners who spoke at the hearing demanded the full purchase price of their cars.
Attorneys who helped negotiate the deal said it was fair and had received support from the vast majority of eligible car owners.
The scandal erupted in September 2015 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the German automaker had fitted many of its cars with software to fool emissions tests, putting dirty vehicles on the road. Car owners and the U.S. Department of Justice sued.
The software recognized when the cars were being tested on a treadmill and turned on pollution controls. The controls were turned off when the cars returned to the road. The EPA alleged the scheme let the cars spew more than 40 times the allowable limit of nitrogen oxide, which can cause respiratory problems in people.
Volkswagen still faces potentially billions more in fines and penalties and possible criminal charges
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