Consumers looking for the resolution of the fix to 600,000 Volkswagen diesel vehicles in the U.S. affected by the emissions-tampering scandal will have to wait for at least another month. That’s because the March 24 deadline imposed by a federal judge for the German automaker to provide a fix that would be acceptable to regulators has come and gone.
Instead, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer gave Volkswagen another month – to April 21 – to disclose the timing of the proposed fix, any planned payments to owners, and other pertinent details. Breyer had previously noted that “six months is long enough” to arrive at a solution to the problem or determine if the problem was fixable.
In San Francisco on March 24, Breyer said he hoped by the 21st that “as many outstanding issues as possible will be wrapped up, but at least the issues of what is to be done with these cars must be resolved by that date.
The word “must” makes Breyer’s statement sound like a hard deadline, but so did the March 24 due date seem etched in stone.
Here’s what led to Breyer giving Volkswagen a month’s delay. Breyer had previously appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee settlement talks and Mueller reportedly told Breyer that there was substantial progress being made between Volkswagen, government regulators and attorneys for car owners toward a resolution to get the 600,000 polluting cars off the road.
Part of the reason a solution isn’t yet ready, Mueller told Breyer, is that engineering technicalities and other important issues remain unresolved.
In other recent developments:
- Volkswagen dealers in the U.S. are asking for the German automaker to consider making reparations. The request came during meetings with Volkswagen in Germany, although the amount requested was not disclosed.
- Kentucky joins the list of four other states (New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas and West Virginia) in bringing a lawsuit against Volkswagen over the dieselgate issue. The latest state lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Andy Beshear, alleges that Volkswagen violated Kentucky’s consumer protection laws by selling diesel vehicles that didn’t measure up to the company’s low emission claims. No details of the suit are public, but the upshot is this could cost Volkswagen millions of dollars in penalties and reparations to the 3,800 owners of tainted Volkswagen diesel vehicles in Kentucky.
- While Volkswagen sales in the U.S. dip (but not Audi sales), Volkswagen (and Audi) workers in Germany still received bonuses based on 2015 revenue. The German VW workers earned an extra $6,499, while Audi workers took home an additional $5,966.
- Even the Volkswagen presence in Geneva at the Geneva Motor Show was somewhat toned down. Instead of elaborate concepts and flashy glitz, Volkswagen presented information on automotive technology and needs of future consumers.