Volkswagen owners in US offered choice of buyback or free repairs

Senior US district judge Charles Breyer, yesterday announced the details of a deal offered by Volkswagen to compensate US drivers for the diesel emissions scandal.

Under the deal, the owners of nearly half a million polluting Volkswagens in the US could opt to either sell them back to the company or get them  repaired at the company's expense.

VW said the software had been fitted in about 11 million cars worldwide to cheat diesel emissions tests designed to limit car fumes blamed for respiratory diseases and global pollution (See: Dieselgate-hit Volkswagen falls as world's biggest carmaker).

The announcement of the US buyback and compensation deal came against speculation that VW would be not be able to fix the cars to comply with stringent US emissions regulations, according to one lawyer.

But drivers in Europe have been promised a quick, a quick software fix from January, that could also make their cars more efficient.

The Federal Motor Transport Authority of Germany was still examining the plan and other authorities were still investigating. According to commentators a solution was elusive, even as European drivers continued to wring their hands in frustration.

"European VW owners now have no clarity about when their cars will be fixed, as the timetable that was originally published is out of time now," said one UK lawyer, who is representing thousands of UK drivers, Reuters reported.

Breyer said the deal would include "substantial compensation" for owners, but did not elaborate. He further warned attorneys in the case not to talk about the continuing negotiations, saying that could cause confusion among customers.

With details of the agreement expected to be announced over the next couple of months, Breyer has set 21 June as the deadline for attorneys from the US justice department and Volkswagen owners to file additional paperwork about the agreement.

After the filing owners would get the chance to comment before Breyer signed off on any deal.