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Volkswagen Violations

Frequent Questions about Volkswagen Violations

For Consumers and Owners of Affected Vehicles

  • I own a Volkswagen diesel vehicle. Where can Iearn more about the VW settlement and what should I do now?

    In June, 2016 Volkswagen entered into a multi-billion dollar settlement to partially resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations based on the sale of approximately 500,000 model year 2009 to 2015 motor vehicles containing 2.0 liter diesel engines. Under the settlement Volkswagen must offer every owner and lessee of an affected 2.0 liter vehicle the option of a buyback or lease termination. Additionally, Volkswagen must offer owners and lessees the option of an Emissions Modification in accordance with certain performance and design requirements.

    In December 2016, Volkswagen entered into a proposed settlement with EPA and California to partially resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations based on the sale of approximately 83,000 model year 2009 to 2015 diesel motor vehicles containing 3.0 liter engines. Under the 3.0 liter partial settlement Volkswagen agreed to recall and repair the following 3.0 liter diesel models to achieve the emissions standards to which they were originally certified:

    • Model year 2013 – 2015 Audi Q7
    • Model year 2014 – 2016 Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5
    • Model year 2013 – 2016 Porsche Cayenne
    • Model year 2013 – 2016 VW Toureg

    Volkswagen also agreed to buy back or offer lease termination at no cost to owners of the following 3.0 liter diesel vehicles models, which cannot be repaired to achieve compliance with the certification standards without compromising important consumer attributes such as reliability and durability. However, the settlement allows Volkswagen to propose an emissions modification which would significantly reduce the emissions, and if approved by regulators, provide vehicle owners with the option of keeping their vehicle:

    • Model year 2009 through 2012 Volkswagen Toureg
    • Model year 2009 through 2012 Audi Q7 diesels.

    The 3.0 liter proposed settlement does not resolve any consumer claims, claims by the Federal Trade Commission, or any claims by individual owners or lessees in the ongoing multidistrict litigation proceeding related to the 3.0 liter violations. The State of California has also secured a separate resolution for the 3.0 liter violations that addresses issues specific to vehicles and consumers in California.

    Learn more about the settlements.

General Information

  • What pollutants are being emitted?

    Vehicles emit an array of pollutants. EPA standards control the allowable emission levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and certain toxic chemicals. The VW defeat device affects the way the NOx control system operates, resulting in higher NOx emission levels from these vehicles than from vehicles with properly operating emission controls.

  • How does NOx pollution affect people’s health?

    NOx pollution contributes to atmospheric levels of nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone, and fine particulate matter. Exposure to these pollutants has been linked with a range of serious health effects, including increased asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses that can be serious enough to send people to the hospital. Exposure to ozone and particulate matter have also been associated with premature death due to respiratory-related or cardiovascular-related effects. Children, the elderly, and people with pre-existing respiratory disease are particularly at risk for health effects of these pollutants.

  • How much more pollution is being emitted than should be?

    NOx emission levels from the 2.0 liter vehicles with defeat devices were 10 – 40 times higher than emission standards. NOx emissions levels from the 3.0 liter vehicles were up to nine times higher than the emission standards.

  • Is this contributing to bad air quality in my city/area?

    All vehicles emit some pollution that, along with emissions from other sources, affects local air quality. Vehicles with high emission levels have a disproportionate impact. EPA emission standards are designed to protect local air quality and maintain clean and healthy air. The VW diesels with the defeat device do not comply with EPA emission standards.

  • My children have asthma. Is it safe for them to ride in a Volkswagen?

    Yes. The excess NOx emissions would not be expected to enter the passenger compartment, and the emissions from a single vehicle are not the primary concern. However, while individual vehicles don’t create a health threat, collectively these emissions add up to air pollution that can cause adverse health effects.