Owners of nearly 100,000 Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Bentley vehicles will get almost $100 million after Volkswagen AG agreed to pay drivers of vehicles with faulty mileage ratings as part of a settlement with private plaintiffs. The company will pay customers $5.40 to $24.30 for each month of owning or leasing one of the affected vehicles, with each vehicle qualifying for a maximum of $518.40 to $2,332.80. The total amount is projected to be about $96.5 million.
Affected models are several sedans and SUVs from model years 2013 through 2017 sold by Volkswagen in U.S. under the VW, Audi, Porsche, and Bentley brands. Anyone who owned each qualifying vehicle at any point is eligible for the settlement. Owners will be required to file a claim to receive compensation after a court signs off, but the process to do so isn’t ready just yet.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that Volkswagen, which controls the four brands, had overstated the average fuel economy on involved vehicles by an average of 1 mile per gallon. A joint investigation between the EPA and the California Air Resources Board discovered roughly 1 million vehicles had been equipped with transmission software that reduced the fuel economy during the test, but not under normal driving conditions. According to the EPA, the software was present on 1 million vehicles, but only the 98,000 cars were discovered with lower fuel economy.
As a consequence of the EPA investigation, Volkswagen will forfeit certain federal emissions credits for the under-reporting and revise the fuel economy labels on the affected gasoline-powered models. However, the company did not admit liability as a result of the settlement. The EPA has reached similar settlements with several other automakers in recent years for overstating average gas mileage. BMW, Ford, and Hyundai have all reportedly reached settlements with the agency over fuel economy issues.