Volkswagen settles emissions scandal for $15 billion

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Emblems of VW Golf VII car are pictured in a production line at the plant of German carmaker Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. Photo by Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

In the wake of Volkswagen’s emission-cheating scandal, the automaker will pay up to $15 billion in settlements. Photo by Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

In the wake of its emission-cheating scandal, Volkswagen will pay up to $15 billion in settlements after a federal judge approved the court action Tuesday.

The settlement is the largest for any auto manufacturer scandal in American history, according to the Associated Press.

The German manufacturer will spend up to $10 billion on buying back or repairing customers’ cars and more than $4.5 billion on clean vehicle projects and efforts to counter residual emissions, Reuters reported.

An estimated 475,000 drivers who bought the rigged cars will be able to sell their vehicles back to Volkswagen starting next Tuesday. They are also eligible to seek cash payments of $5,000 to $10,000, the AP reported.

The settlement approval is the latest in the scandal that prompted Volkswagen’s CEO to resign, share prices to plummet and a federal investigation.

And in September, the German car manufacturer recalled 11 million VWs and Audis with 2-liter four-cylinder diesel engines that were rigged to cheat emissions tests.

Beginning in 2009, Volkswagen developed and installed software that sensed when the car was being tested off the road by the EPA, turning on the pollution controls only during the test. The system design made the diesel cars appear cleaner than they actually were.

The scam was uncovered by the International Council on Clean Transportation in 2015, after it ran tests on the cars using actual on-road testing.

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