VW offers $901 million to compensate German diesel owners

Europe

BERLIN — Volkswagen Group said it will compensate some owners of its heavily polluting diesel vehicles in Germany in a settlement that will cost the automaker 830 million euros ($901 million).

In 2015 VW was caught by regulators using manipulated engine management software to mask excessive pollution levels in its diesel cars, sparking a raft of prosecutions and lawsuits. The automaker was forced to refit up to 11 million vehicles globally fitted with EA 189 diesel engines, including 8 million in Europe alone.

The offer comes despite a breakdown in talks with German consumer association VZBV, which had been in negotiations with VW about reaching a settlement deal for customers who had joined its class-action suit against the automaker.

“The failure of settlement talks with Consumer Association VZBV should not come at the expense of customers,” VW said in a statement, adding that all customers who had registered for compensation with VZBV would be eligible for the settlement.

VW said it had declined to reach a settlement with VZBV, blaming excessive demands for 50 million euros in fees by lawyers representing the consumer organizations.

VZBV said talks had failed because the automaker had not guaranteed a system of redress which was adequate for consumers, adding it would continue to press for a settlement on VZBV terms through German courts. 

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