As part of a settlement with plaintiffs regarding its mileage claims, the Volkswagen Group will restate fuel-economy figures slightly across seven models sold from the 2013 to 2017 model years. Owners will be compensated based on how long they owned the car in a move expected to cost the German automaker close to $100 million.
Related: VW Diesel Crisis: Timeline of Events
The penalty is a flyspeck compared with the $14.7 billion that the automaker — of which automotive brands in the U.S. include Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche and Volkswagen — paid to settle its diesel-emissions scandal, but today’s announcement involves only a slight move in fuel-economy figures for some 98,000 affected vehicles, a relatively small pool. The diesel scandal, by contrast, involved nearly 600,000 cars on U.S. roads.
Which cars are involved? According to updates posted by the EPA, these models and model years are:
- 2013-16 Audi A8 sedan, specifically the extended-length (A8 L) and performance (S8) variants
- 2014-16 Audi RS7 hatchback
- 2013-17 Bentley Continental GT coupe, including the convertible variant (the Continental GTC or Continental GT Convertible, depending on model year)
- 2014-16 Bentley Flying Spur sedan
- 2013-16 Porsche Cayenne SUV, specifically the base, GTS, S, Turbo and Turbo S variants
- 2013-14 Volkswagen Touareg SUV
- 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV
Adjustments to EPA-estimated mileage are slight, amounting in almost all cases to a 1-mpg reduction in city, highway or combined figures, or some combination thereof. That’s in rounded EPA numbers, which are published by the agency and printed on new-car window stickers.
The mileage discrepancies involve specific versions of the vehicles listed above — a given engine, for example. Just because you own one of the affected models doesn’t necessarily mean your specific vehicle is impacted. Go here to verify specific engines identified.
The EPA and California regulators uncovered the discrepancy during its investigation into Volkswagen’s diesel scandal, discovering at the time that the automaker “employed software to manage vehicle transmissions in gasoline vehicles,” the EPA said today on its website.
“This software causes the transmission to shift gears during the EPA-prescribed emissions test in a manner that sometimes optimizes fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during the test, but not under normal driving conditions,” the agency stated.
The admission resolves a class-action lawsuit that’s several years old, said Mark Clothier, a spokesman for the automaker. Owners or lessees who are party to the suit will receive anywhere from $5.40 to $24.30 for every month they owned their vehicle once a court overseeing the case approves the settlement. The payment varies based on the size of the mileage discrepancy, Clothier confirmed to Cars.com.
Volkswagen will also adjust greenhouse-gas credits to account for any discrepancy in credits received for regulatory emissions targets, subject to EPA approval. But beyond the settlement, which will cost Volkswagen roughly $96.5 million, the automaker doesn’t face any additional civil penalties, Clothier indicated.
If and when the court approves, owners in the suit will receive instructions to submit a claim or opt out. Until then, Volkswagen says no action is needed.
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