DIESELGATE: VW Agrees To Buyback and Compensation

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Diesel TDI Jetta from VW

Volkswagen has made its April 21 deadline for an agreement to address its diesel scandal, but questions remain.

There’s nothing like uncertainty to fan a scandal’s flames, and while today’s proposed agreement in San Francisco clarifies VW’s plans to make whole the US buyers of those cheating TDIs, a few things are still not clear.

According to Automotive News, today U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer announced that VW agreed to offer a way out of this mess to buyers of its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesel engines, which number about 482,000:

– a buyback

– a lease cancellation

– keeping the car with modifications to bring the vehicle into compliance

– a “substantial compensation” for affected owners, on top of whichever of the three options VW owners choose

It’s a good start, but none of this applies to owners of the 3.0-liter V6 diesel in VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles. That situation is still being sorted out.

There’s also the damage these polluting vehicles have done to the environment, and Judge Breyer also announced that VW would establish a fund to mitigate the impact of the excess nitrogen oxide these TDIs pumped into our air. VW will also have a mandate to invest in and produce green technologies.

Golf TDI engine

So what’s next? In two months, these developments will culminate in a consent decree, which is due on June 21. The consent decree will be subject to public comment and court approval. Automotive News notes that the first buybacks could begin sometime in July.

That’s terrific news for VW TDI owners who spent extra for green efficiency, only to end up with a car that’s of little value because of its outsized pollution.

Related: Justice Department Files Suit Against Volkswagen

None of what was agreed to here has an impact on the US criminal probes, though one of its purposes is to head off and/or consolidate the mounting lawsuits against VW – one of which refers to the company as a “criminal racketeering enterprise.”

It’s here where we can sympathize with Volkswagen’s shareholders, as this unfolding disaster still has its share of unknowns. As The Motley Fool notes, VW still has not reported its 2015 earnings; VW CEO Matthias Mueller has promised them for April 28, as extra time has been required to accurately asses Dieselgate’s total financial impact.

But questions remain. How will the company get those TDIs in compliance for owners who choose that option, and how much will that cost? What further damages will the criminal probe bring?

Meanwhile, all those dirty TDIs keep spewing those excess pollutants, and this affects us all. Considering that, the consent decree can’t come fast enough.

Want a VW that’s not a diesel? Check out this search of gas-engined Volkswagens on BestRide.com, and find one near you.