U.S. judge approves $15B settlement in Volkswagen emissions scandal

A U.S. federal judge in San Francisco has approved a $15 billion US court settlement of most claims against Volkswagen for its emissions-cheating scandal.

VW to start buying back cars in U.S. in November

A U.S. judge has approved a $15 billion US settlement to compensate owners of Volkswagen vehicles involved in an emissions scandal. (Ralf Hirschberger/dpa via Associated Press)

A U.S. federal judge in San Francisco has approved a $15 billion court settlement of most claims against Volkswagen for its emissions-cheating scandal.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer signed the order Tuesday approving the largest auto-scandal settlement in U.S. history.

​About 475,000 owners of VWs and Audis with 2-litre four-cylinder diesel engines now will be able to seek buybacks of their vehicles starting next Tuesday.

Most of the owners are expected to sell their cars back to VW after the company acknowledged cheating on emissions testing and putting dirty cars on the road. In addition to having their cars bought back, owners can each get cash payments of $5,100 to $10,000 US.

"The settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate," Breyer wrote in his order, posted Tuesday morning by the court.

VW will pay attorney fees and costs, including up to $324 million US in fees and $8.5 million in out-of-pocket costs.

Larger engines not included

The settlement releases legal claims from most of the 2-litre VW owners, but it doesn't affect larger 3-litre six-cylinder diesels, which also cheated on tests. The settlement also doesn't end any claims against parts supplier Robert Bosch, which drew up the cheating software.

The order says that 336,612 owners of 2-litre diesels have registered for the settlement and 3,298 have opted out.

Canadian owners of VW vehicles involved in the scandal are still waiting on news of a settlement here.

Last week, Volkswagen Canada and parties involved in class-action lawsuits in Ontario and Quebec were scheduled to give updates in court on a proposed deal to compensate the roughly 100,000 VW owners affected by the emissions-cheating debacle, but the updates were put off.

A lawyer involved in the Ontario lawsuit told CBC News last week that the hope was to have something firmed up regarding affected 2-litre vehicles by the next scheduled court date on Dec. 19.

with files from CBC News