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VW Agrees to Nearly $15B in US Settlement Over Emissions Scandal


FILE - Volkswagen diesels are shown behind a security fence on a storage lot near a VW dealership Sept. 23, 2015, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Volkswagen has agreed to a nearly $15 billion settlement of consumer and environmental claims related to its emissions rigging scandal that broke last September in the United States.

The settlement, announced Tuesday by a U.S. District Court in San Francisco, includes over $10 billion to buy back from owners about 475,000 polluting vehicles.

The settlement also includes $2.7 billion for environmental mitigation and $2 billion for research on zero-emissions technology.

U.S. owners of cars with 2-liter diesel engines have the choice of either selling their car back to Volkswagen or getting a repair. Whatever their choice, they each will also receive compensation of $5,100 to $10,000.

The German car maker will also offer to repair the cars free, but any repair that improves the pollution controls will be likely to negatively impact the cars' acceleration and fuel economy.

Owners can also choose to decline Volkswagen's offer and sue the company on their own.

A U.S. district judge in San Francisco will hold a hearing on July 26 to decide on whether to grant preliminary approval of the settlements.

Owners will have until December 2018 to decide whether to sell back or repair their vehicles that may not eliminate all excess emissions.

Volkswagen marketed the cars as both more fuel efficient and better performing than those with regular gasoline engines.

Volkswagen was plunged into the biggest crisis in its history after the revelation that 11 million of its vehicles had been fitted with devices that switched anti-pollution controls on during tests, but shut off the devices during normal driving.