VW UNDER-FIRE: The US Environmental Protection Agency has accused Volkswagen of installing software on nearly 500 000 diesel cars in the US to evade federal emission regulations. Image: AFP/ Scott Olson
Washington - German automaker Volkswagen and US environmental regulators have reached an agreement on the diesel-powered 3.0 litre cars also involved in the company's emissions scandal, according to a news report on Tuesday.
Under the terms of the agreement, which still requires court approval, Volkswagen would fix 60 000 vehicles with affected 3.0-litre engines and repurchase 19 000 older models for which repairs would be too complex, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources close to the negotiations.
The settlement would close another major chapter in the company's emissions cheating scandal. Volkswagen last month concluded a record-setting $15-billion settlement concerning 2.0-litre diesel cars.
However, this latest agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California's Air Resources Board does not resolve legal actions brought by owners of 3.0-litre cars or by the Federal Trade Commission, according to the report.
A spokeswoman for Volkswagen told AFP the talks were confidential and the company could not comment ahead of a court hearing scheduled for the end of the month. The EPA declined to comment.
Elizabeth Cabraser, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, emphasized that there had been no agreement involving owners and lessees of the affected 3.0-litre cars.
Cabraser said in a statement: "While an agreement between the EPA and Volkswagen may address some of the environmental damage, it does not hold the company accountable for the harm caused to consumers. We will continue to pursue a fair resolution on their behalf."
Any agreement would have to give consumers the same benefits offered in October's 2.0-litre class action settlement, including the choice between buyback and repair, Cabraser said.
The company has found itself in a firestorm and seen sales plummet since admitting last year that it deliberately configured as many as 11-million diesel-powered cars sold worldwide with "defeat devices" that reduced harmful nitrogen oxide output during emissions testing but allowed the cars to produce as much as 40 times permissible amounts during actual driving.
The company continues to face a criminal investigation in the US.