(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says Volkswagen has agreed to pay millions of dollars to the state and Idaho consumers for violating consumer protection laws and selling and leasing vehicles equipped with technology designed to circumvent environmental laws and regulations.
The agreement announced today is part of a series of settlements between Volkswagen, 43 states, and the federal government, Wasden said. The settlement resolves consumer protection claims raised by the states against Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Porsche AG and Porsche Cars, North America, Inc. – collectively referred to as Volkswagen.
Under the settlements’ terms, Idaho will receive over $2.6 million in civil penalties. The company must also make cash payments to consumers estimated at $5,100 per eligible Volkswagen owners and either buy back or modify certain Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles sold in the state.
The Attorney General joined a coalition of states in 2015 to investigate claims the company violated state consumer protection laws.
“The scope of Volkswagen’s fraudulent actions was unfathomable,” Attorney General Wasden said. “Ensuring that companies make truthful statements and claims about their products is important to consumers and essential for the marketplace to work properly.”
The state investigation confirmed that Volkswagen sold hundreds of thousands of 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles in the United States equipped with “defeat device” software intended to circumvent emission standards for air pollutants. The company also tried to conceal the existence of the device from regulators and the public, Wasden said.
At the same time, Wasden said Volkswagen repeatedly made false and misleading statements to consumers in their marketing and advertising campaigns. The company claimed the vehicles were environmentally friendly – or “green” – and in compliance with emission standards, when in fact, Volkswagen knew the vehicles were emitting harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at rates many times higher than allowed by law.
The settlements require Volkswagen to implement a national restitution and recall program for more than 475,000 owners and lessees of 2.0-liter diesel vehicles from model years 2009 through 2015 at a cost of more than $10 billion. This includes 2,506 vehicles purchased by Idaho consumers, Wasden said. Vehicles subject to the settlement are listed at the end of this release.
Cash payments to consumers will commence once the settlements are approved by the courts. The total payout to Idaho consumers is estimated to be at least $12.8 million.
Affected Idaho Volkswagen owners will also be given a choice:
- A buy back of the vehicle based on pre-scandal NADA value, or;
- A modification to reduce NOx emissions provided that Volkswagen can develop a modification acceptable to regulators. Eligible Volkswagen owners will still have the buy back option if regulators are unable to approve an emission fix. Owners who choose the modification option would also receive an Extended Emission Warranty as well as a Lemon Law-type remedy to protect against future problems with the modification.
The settlements also make benefits and restitution available to lessees. Additional elements of the settlements include:
- Environmental Mitigation Fund: Under the federal settlement, Volkswagen will pay $2.7 billion into a trust to support environmental programs throughout the country to reduce NOx emissions. Idaho will be eligible to receive $16.2 million for these mitigation programs;
- Zero Emission Vehicles: Volkswagen has committed to investing $2 billion over the next 10 years to the development of non-polluting cars, or zero emission vehicles;
- Preservation of Environmental Claims: The Attorney General’s settlement preserves all claims under state environmental laws, and Idaho maintains the right to seek additional penalties from Volkswagen for its violations of state environmental and emissions laws and regulations.
Full details of the settlement are available online at: www.VWCourtSettlement.com.
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