As part of a series of state and federal settlements reached in cases filed against Volkswagen after the company admitted last year that its “clean diesel” vehicles were designed to fool emissions tests, Volkswagen will pay about $10 billion to consumers across the country who bought or leased the affected car models.
Under the settlements, Volkswagen will implement a “restitution and recall” program for more than 475,000 owners and lessees of 2.0-liter diesel vehicles with model years 2009 through 2015 — including 16,326 vehicles in Maryland, according to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.
Affected owners of Volkswagen vehicles will receive a restitution payment of at least $5,100 under the settlement, as well as the option of a vehicle buy-back or a modification approved by regulators that reduces the car’s emissions of nitrogen oxides.
The company will also pay $570 million for violating state laws against unfair or deceptive trade practices by marketing, selling and leasing diesel cars that were equipped with illegal defeat device software that could sense when the car was undergoing an emissions test but did not comply with emission standards when the car was on the road. The company will pay $15 million to settle claims brought by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, according to a news release.
“Volkswagen’s deceptions are particularly egregious because they told consumers that these cars — which are environmental nightmares — were good for the environment, even going so far as saying they were as environmentally friendly as hybrids. Consumers who bought these cars not only did not get what was advertised, but they also paid a premium because they wanted to be responsible environmental stewards,” Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a release. “Instead, they have unwittingly been driving cars that were spewing up to 40 times more pollution than allowed by law.”
Volkswagen has also agreed to pay $2.7 billion into a trust that supports environmental programs to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. Maryland will receive almost $73 million to fund pollution mitigation projects under that agreement, which is pending court approval.
The company has also committed to investing $2 billion over the next decade to develop zero-emissions vehicles and supporting infrastructure for those cars.