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What Volkswagen owners can expect from settlement

Dee-Ann Durbin
Associated Press

A federal judge on Tuesday approved a settlement between Volkswagen AG and about 475,000 owners of diesel cars that don’t meet U.S. emissions standards. Volkswagen admitted last year that the cars were programmed to cheat on emissions tests.

Who is eligible?

The deal covers 475,000 VW models with 2-liter diesel engines dating to 2009. U.S. models include the 2009-2015 Jetta and Audi A3, the 2010-2015 Golf, and the 2012-2015 Beetle and Passat.

Most owners are expected to take the settlement. As of Sept. 16, which was the deadline to opt out of the settlement, 3,298 owners said they wouldn’t participate. Those who don’t accept the settlement could sue VW. Another 90,000 cars with 3-liter diesel engines also have cheating software, but they aren’t part of this settlement.

What is VW offering?

Owners have a choice. VW will buy back your car — regardless of its condition — at the National Automobile Dealers Association clean trade-in price before the cheating was made public on Sept. 18, 2015. Or the company will fix your car. The fix has not been determined and still must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

In either case, VW will pay you $5,100 to $10,000 for your trouble, depending on the age of the car and whether you owned it on or before Sept. 18, 2015. VW also will buy out your lease if your vehicle was leased through Volkswagen Credit.

Once owners register, VW has 10 days to accept their claim or send it back for changes. Once it’s accepted, the company has 10 days to make a buyback offer. Once an owner accepts that offer, the company has 90 days — or 45 days, for leased vehicles — to take the car back and give the owner a check.

VW says it will start making buyback offers in mid-November. Owners have until Sept. 1, 2018, to make a decision.

When will the fixes be approved?

Volkswagen has submitted a proposed software fix for 2015-model year 2-liter diesels, or around 15 percent of the 2-liters on U.S. roads. The Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board are reviewing that fix now. A proposed fix for most of the other 2-liter diesels is due Nov. 11; a fix for the 2012-2014 Passats is due Dec. 16. The fixes for the 2009-2014 models will likely involve changes in the cars’ hardware.

How much are these cars worth?

Owners will get a total of $12,500 to $44,000 — including the cash payment — depending on the model, age, mileage and options on their car.

Where can I learn more?

The official settlement website is vwcourtsettlement.com.