Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Trust the World's Fastest VPN with Your Internet Security & Freedom - A Lifetime Subscription of PureVPN at 88% off. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×
Businesses Government The Courts United States

Volkswagen Closes In on $4.3 Billion US Settlement in Diesel Scandal (bloomberg.com) 126

Volkswagen said it's closing in on a deal with U.S. authorities on a $4.3 billion settlement to resolve civil and criminal allegations stemming from its emissions-cheating scandal. From a report on Bloomberg: The agreement, which has yet to be finalized, would lead to a financial expense that exceeds current provisions, the German automaker said. It also includes a guilty plea to some criminal charges, strengthening compliance systems and installing an independent monitor for three years, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker said Tuesday in a statement. VW's management and supervisory boards are scheduled to review the settlement today or Wednesday and may raise provisions related to the scandal, which currently total 18.2 billion euros ($19.2 billion). A final agreement also needs to be approved by U.S. courts. The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on Volkswagen's statement.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Volkswagen Closes In on $4.3 Billion US Settlement in Diesel Scandal

Comments Filter:
  • double standards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Avarist ( 2453728 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @03:07PM (#53643749)
    So will anyone complain about the US targeting European companies for cash, or is that only allowed when it's the EU that does it?
    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @03:17PM (#53643855) Homepage

      Only allowed when the EU targets a USA company.

      Don't look at me, I don't make the rules!

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @05:05PM (#53644537)

        Only allowed when the EU targets a USA company.

        This situation is not quite the same as the EU targeting Google or Facebook.
        1. VW clearly broke the law.
        2. Their actions were illegal in both the US and the EU.
        3. VW employs a lot of people in America, and has a big factory in Chattanooga, TN.
        When the EU goes after American tech companies it is for questionable infractions about some BS European censorship issue like "the right to be forgotten" or a random user expressing unpopular historical opinions, or maybe a photo of some chick wearing a burkini on a French beach. Americans care much less about what people wear, and even less about what they say.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          1. So did Google and Facebook
          2. Not sure about US laws here but from what I can tell Google and Facebook tends to break them on a regular basis.
          3. And Google and Facebook employs people in the EU.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Hmm, seems pretty similar to me.

          1. Google/Facebook clearly broke the (privacy) law.
          2. Their actions were illegal in the EU, but not the US.
          3. Google/Facebook employs a lot of people in the EU, and has offices in most EU member states.

          So only really 2 is very different, and it's completely irrelevant anyway.

          BS European censorship issue like "the right to be forgotten"

          You mean our strong privacy protections that Americans should be jealous of?

    • Re:double standards (Score:5, Informative)

      by plague911 ( 1292006 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @03:21PM (#53643877)
      Actually the EU already is after their blood money from VW.

      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/vw-faces-eu-push-for-fines-in-20-member-states-2016-09-05

      As such I doubt that anyone would consider this an unfair targeting of VW.

      • Actually the EU already is after their blood money from VW

        Well, the OP was complaining that whenever the EU goes after a US company, there are scores of complaints about how the EU is punishing American business for being American. This way round, there are always far fewer complaints for some reason, i.e. none.

        It's indicitave of a double standard, not some fault on the part of the EU or the US.

        • Re:double standards (Score:5, Interesting)

          by plague911 ( 1292006 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @03:39PM (#53644003)
          I am sure there are dead enders on this, but the complaints come in when one of two things happen.

          1) The EU targets a US company but the US deems their behavior acceptable

          2) The EU targets a US company but lets similar behavior by non-US companies slide.

          The former is the most common issue.

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          In other words he's complaining about people complaining. And there's always people complaining.

        • Actually the EU already is after their blood money from VW

          Well, the OP was complaining that whenever the EU goes after a US company, there are scores of complaints about how the EU is punishing American business for being American. This way round, there are always far fewer complaints for some reason, i.e. none.

          It's indicitave of a double standard, not some fault on the part of the EU or the US.

          No... It would be a double standard if the US went after an EU company for no good reason and no one complained.

          In this case VW actually did something wrong. Or did you forget that they deliberately programmed their cars to cheat their way past emissions tests and breaking numerous laws while doing so?

          • No... It would be a double standard if the US went after an EU company for no good reason and no one complained.

            No, that's not right. People here complain when the EU goes after US companies for a perfectly good reason but those same people don't complain when the US goes after EU compaines for a perfectly good reason. That;s double standards.

        • Or, it's indicative of Volkswagen AG breaking laws in both the US and the EU, and both governments going for their pound (or more) of flesh over blatantly violating laws and conspiracy to defraud customers and regulators.

          They fucked up. They know they fucked up. Everyone knows they fucked up. And, they fucked up in a fashion that could still do lasting damage to the company for decades to come. There's no double standard to be seen here.

      • By "blood money", you mean a settlement for Volkswagen breaking EU law, unless you believe companies should be able to wantonly violate the laws of jurisdictions in which they operate, and that any attempt by that jurisdiction to penalize or recover costs is somehow "blood money".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What do you mean? The US treats everyone equally. The total cost of dieselgate to VW is only 500x as much as what General Motors had to pay when they did the same thing with a similar number of cars.

  • Buyback deal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @03:35PM (#53643973) Homepage
    To give them credit, VW has handled the buyback very well. It's been a smooth, orderly process, and the cash amount was good. I doubt they'll lose very many customers over this, because they handled it so well. I think they'll survive this.
    • Re:Buyback deal (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Paul Carver ( 4555 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @03:58PM (#53644153)

      I don't think there should have been a buyback at all. Why should VW be allowed to make their customers jump through hoops or file paperwork. The way it should have been ordered by the courts to work is this:

      1) VW owner drives car to VW dealer.
      2) Dealer looks up original sticker price (if necessary, look up VIN to find if it was purchased at a different dealer and get the sticker price there.)
      3) Customer picks out a car off the lot (possibly with a restriction that the sticker price must be within x% of the sticker price of the car they are returning)
      4) If sticker price of new car is lower, VW issues customer a check for the difference in price
      5) If sticker price is higher, customer pays the difference (or chooses a different car off the lot)
      6) Customer drives away in new car

      If customer can't find a single car on the lot that they would want to have, they can go to any other VW dealer and have the same options.

      If customer doesn't want a VW at all they can still follow the steps above and sell the brand new car. They ought to be able to get enough from a used car dealer to be worth at least as much as the used price of the VW they originally bought.

      VW should do all the paperwork. All the customer should have to do is sign the papers agreeing to a straight swap of the old for new plus the dollar amount of the difference in sticker prices.

      • Re:Buyback deal (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @04:03PM (#53644197) Homepage
        What you're describing is absurd and childish. The world doesn't work that way. VW needs to have a signed contract with everybody, there needs to be a verification of ownership, transfer of title, and all of that good stuff.
        • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

          What you're describing is absurd and childish. The world doesn't work that way.

          Corporatist.

          VW needs to have a signed contract with everybody, there needs to be a verification of ownership, transfer of title, and all of that good stuff.

          Yes yes, they should make sure there is a clear title, etc etc. Otherwise his (her?) point still stands and the onus should be 100% on Volkswagon.

          • by DogDude ( 805747 )
            Dummy, the onus IS on Volkswagen. That's what I said. It's silly and childish to expect to swing by any VW dealer and swap the car, like it's a fucking video game.
            • No, it's like countless other businesses with good customer service. Granted, cars are expensive, but VW screwed up big.

              There are countless businesses where you can take back a defective product and get a replacement with minimal hassle. Clothing, food, electronics. If you take the product back to the retail establishment it is VERY common that they'll give you a new one even if the package has been opened as long as the item is clearly defective.

              The VW cars were clearly defective. Worse, they were fradulen

              • by DogDude ( 805747 )
                What legwork are you talking about? What paperwork? I actually own a TDI. I said the process was super easy.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Bender0x7D1 ( 536254 )

                I turn in my Jetta TDI on Thursday. All I have to do is bring the car, my key fobs, and the title, and it will take about 30 minutes to do the paperwork. Everything else is how you described it.

                All I had to do was, verify my VIN on the website, and tell them if I had a lien or not. Then I uploaded my registration and title to show that I am the sole owner of my car, and got my appointment to sign the paperwork.

                Overall, it is going to take less than half the time of buying a new vehicle to return the old

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  Did they check the car over much? People have been completely [circlesix.co] stripping [bgr.com] their cars before handing them back, or handing them in with severe accident damage etc.

                  • by DogDude ( 805747 )
                    My appointment to drop it off isn't for another month, but no, they never asked about the condition of the car.
        • What you're describing is absurd and childish...

          Yes, but this is /., so it goes without saying that the comments will fall into two main categories: "dismissive because it has something to do with emissions and we all know any attempt to minimize emissions is COMMUNIST!" or "absurd and childish, because it's a corporation, and therefore the GREAT SATAN MUST BE PUNISHED!"

      • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

        The terms are actually more favorable than what you're proposing because the settlement isn't directly linked to the purchase of a different vehicle. The customers are entitled to a direct payment in the amount of the former NADA value of the cars, plus several thousand dollars in bonus cash. No strings attached.

        My neighbor had one of these and he was really happy with the terms of the settlement. The annoying thing for him was that it took so long for it to be finalized.

  • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @03:39PM (#53644007)

    GM's penalty for the ignition switch fiasco is less than $1 billion for a deliberate defect about which the the company tried to cover up and lied about for years and killed over 100 people.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]?

    Who did VW piss off or forget to blow?

    I'm not saying VW should pay less but I don't understand how what they did merits higher fines

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      GM designed a switch that worked in most circumstances, but failed for a corner case.
      GM initially shipped not intending to cause harm.
      GM did not intentionally break the law.
      GM was slow to fix it once caught.

      VW did the reverse on all counts.

      Both transgressions contributed to the deaths of folks.
      My bad-o-meter for which is worse points to VW.

      The interesting question here is what punishment will happen personally to the a few of the top folks in charge.
      Jail time sounds fair, but if the settlement eliminates th

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        GM initially shipped not intending to cause harm.

        And a drunk driver doesn't "intend" to cause harm when he gets behind the wheel and ends up killing someone. I suggest Googling the definition of negligence.

        GM did not intentionally break the law.

        They knowing sold a switch more than a decade after they knew it was defective. Full stop.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      I'm not saying VW should pay less but I don't understand how what they did merits higher fines

      Intent. GM didn't set out to kill people with a design flat. VW intended to deceive regulators and the public by deliberately cheating the system.

    • That's the fine alone not including any civil settlements which hadn't occurred yet at the time that article was written. This is a $4.3 billion settlement to resolve civil and criminal allegations.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      GM's defect might only have killed people. Volkswagen's threatened to give the giant kangaroo rat a runny nose.

    • Never underestimate the power of tree huggers!
    • Just because we don't know exactly who dies doesn't mean no one died. There are 10s of thousands of people with asthma or clotting disorders. Not to mention the decreased life expectancy even if you don't keel over on the spot. I haven't done the numbers, but it could easily be equivalent to over 100 people.
      • by haruchai ( 17472 )

        If so, I can see a huge legal mess brewing for coal-fired plants. Many of them resisted adding scrubbers and pollution controls for decades.
        Trump et al may tried to gut & hobble the EPA but a civilian suit against VW may pave the way for a massive suit against the entire fossil fuel industry and coal is perhaps the biggest target.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The cost is determined by the number of victims and the severity of what happened to them.

      In GM's case there were 100 victims, and the results were often severe (death).

      The VW's case there were millions of victims. Everyone who bought a car gets a big chunk of compensation. Everyone else gets a lesser amount via fines that go into general taxation and infrastructure projects.

      Justice usually tries to restore things to how they would have been without the bad actions, plus some punitive measures.

    • I'm not condoning what GM did in any way, but VW violated the Clean Air Act. And, it was a willful violation with negligence, which means that there is a statuary multiplier applied to damages in the Clean Air Act.

      I don't believe there is any particular clause in whatever laws GM violated.

    • GM can simply replace the defective ignition switch.

      Most of the VM vehicles cannot be modified to comply with the emissions regulations---at least, not without seriously reducing their performance or fuel efficiency.

      So a large chunk of the settlement is funding the vehicle trade-in program.

    • by ve3oat ( 884827 )
      GM is an American company; VW is not. Look what the US government did to Toyota (another non-US company) about their so-called uncontrolled acceleration problem. As far as I know, none of the documented cases ever provided proof that the car was at fault. Yet, Toyota paid dearly in reputation, PR, and money for this anxiety-inducing "problem". After the dust settled on this, the press was full of stories about how elderly drivers got their pedals mixed up or tried to accelerate when they were in a diffe
  • ..and of course since we had to breathe it in, we are all gonna get a share in the 4.3 billion right? No? thought not.

    • Actually, yes you are. The part of that money that's not in the buy-back goes to the treasury, which is revenue they then do NOT need to get from taxes. So it means that your tax burden is smaller. The government can pay some of it's bills with money not from your pocket.

      So yeah, you are getting a share by having a reduced burden for bills you would otherwise have to pay.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Only if GP happens to be American, since the US will collect the proceed of the settlement. Taxpayers elsewhere will be paying for a large part of it, since the payment goes out of VW's profits and hence the taxes it is due. The consequences are quite serious [forbes.com] in some places.

  • Would it be that much if the car maker was a US company?

    (answer: no)
  • Same thing happened here. Guess how much we're getting? I guess most Canadians are just too nice: sure neighbour, why don't you take all the money, and we... we'll.... we'll say "there! good for you!". And we'll just introduce a carbon tax to get money.
  • Car, Truck, you name it.. After 10,000 miles they all start to stink.
  • The final dollar value of the fine is actually $4,294,967,295 to be exact. This happens to be the highest amount the US DOJ computer system supports currently. VW should consider themselves lucky this time.

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas

Working...