Volkswagen believes it can fix 85,000 polluting U.S. vehicles

Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:33pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage and David Shepardson

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A lawyer for Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) said at a court hearing Thursday the German automaker believed it could fix 85,000 polluting 3.0-liter VW, Audi and Porsche diesel cars and SUVs, a move that could help the company avoid a second pricey vehicle buyback.

Separately, a Justice Department lawyer, Joshua Van Eaton, said discussions and tests were being conducted to resolve the fate of those vehicles, which could take months to rectify.

At the hearing, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer did not set a formal deadline to fix those vehicles, but set an Aug. 25 status hearing to get an update.

Earlier this week, VW agreed to spend up to $10.033 billion to buy back 475,000 2.0-liter diesel cars that emit up to 40 times the allowed level of pollution, and fix them if regulators approve it. VW also agreed to spend $4.7 billion on zero-emission vehicle efforts and diesel offset programs and $603 million to settle lawsuits with 44 U.S. states.

If VW were required to buy back the larger, more expensive 3.0-liter vehicles, it could add billions to its costs.

VW lawyer Robert Giuffra said the automaker believed the 3.0-liter vehicles were fixable and that the fix will not be "complicated" or negatively impact the vehicles' performance.

The testing is to ensure the durability of the proposed fix, he said.

"The company believes that we can fix the 3.0 liter to the standards to which those cars were originally certified," Giuffra said.   Continued...

The logo of an E-Golf is pictured in a production line at the plant of German carmaker Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer