A federal judge approved Volkswagen’s $15 billion settlement with the U.S. government Tuesday, essentially forcing the company to buy back vehicles caught up in last year’s emission scandal.
The record settlement, approved by U.S. District Court of San Francisco Judge Charles Breyer, directs the German automaker to buy back the nearly 500,000 diesel powered vehicles tainted with so-called defeat devices to fool emission tests.
The buybacks range from $12,475 to $44,176, USA Today reported Tuesday.
The deal, which sets aside $10 billion to fix or buy back the 482,000 tainted diesel vehicles, represents the largest automotive settlement in history. Customers can either sell their cars back to the German auto company or have them repaired.
VW affixed its clean diesel vehicles with the tainted software. About 585,000 vehicles in the U.S. and 11 million vehicles worldwide have the software.
Regardless of the customer’s decision, they will receive a payment of $5,100 to $10,000, the source told reporters in July.
Audi vehicles were fitted with a device in 1999 to stop a “disagreeable noise” the vehicles made during startup, which then resulted in fuel flooding the car’s system, causing them to run afoul of Europe’s fuel emission standards.
A lawsuit filed in July found that VW installed the cheating software that deactivated the new injection technology during road testing situations. That technology would end up in all the cars tainted with the devices from model year 2004 to 2008.
VW admitted in September to installing so-called defeat devices in hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S.
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