A solid majority of Volkswagen diesel car owners affected by the German automaker’s emissions scandal appear ready to accept settlements.
Of approximately 475,000 U.S. owners of the 2-liter diesel cars fitted with bogus software to cheat emissions standards, 311,209 have registered for the settlement offer, according to a court filing Friday.
Only 3,298 Volkswagen owners opted out of the deal, thus preserving their right to sue the automaker or pursue some other avenue, according to a filing by attorneys representing the class-action group of consumers who sued Volkswagen Group over the scandal.
“There is resounding support for this consumer class settlement and the substantial benefits it provides," VW consumer class-action attorney Elizabeth Cabraser said in a statement.
Anyone who did not respond by the Sept. 16 deadline remains eligible for a buy back or a payout and a recall fix, but missed the deadline to opt out completely.
Eligible consumers will still have nearly two years to decide whether they would prefer a buy back or a payout and fix. Volkswagen has yet to win the Environmental Protection Agency’s authorization for a repair plan, meaning it’s possible all eligible VW owners will get their cars bought back at a premium.
If the company cannot deliver a fix, consumers who have already registered for the settlement will be a given a second chance to opt out.
Volkswagen agreed in June to a sweeping civil settlement with the U.S. government, California regulators and a class-action consumer group to pay up to $14.7 billion to resolve the diesel scandal.
A federal judge in San Francisco is expected to consider approving the settlement in a hearing Oct. 18. A substantial number of consumers agreeing to accept the offer could help persuade the judge that it’s a fair deal.
The offer does not extend to nearly 100,000 units of 3-liter diesel vehicles that were fitted with similar software. VW is currently discussing a potential settlement on those models.
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