Next Tuesday, June 21, is the big day: the day that Volkswagen has been ordered to reach an agreement with federal regulators regarding the company's plans to repair and/or buyback 2.0-liter diesel vehicles in the U.S.
Or rather, it should've been the big day. Unfortunately for 482,000 owners of Audi and VW cars designed to cheat on emissions tests, the deadline has been pushed back--again. That and other news in today's Volkswagen Dieselgate update:
Deadline extended to June 28: U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer has given Volkswagen an additional week to hammer out the details of its repair/repurchase plan with the Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, Justice Department, and Federal Trade Commission. The plan is now due on June 28 and is rumored to include:
- An option for owners to sell their diesel vehicles back to Audi and VW, if they so choose.
- Plans to repair vehicles that owners wish to keep.
- Compensation for owners of illegally engineered diesels, provided they agree not to pursue additional legal action. (Compensation is rumored to be around $5,000.)
- A remediation fund to address environmental damage caused by the polluting diesels.
As for the 85,000 3.0-liter Audi, Porsche, and VW diesels that have been red-flagged by the EPA, there's still no word on a plan from Volkswagen.
German investigators think Volkswagen deleted emissions data: On September 18 of last year, Volkswagen admitted that it had installed defeat devices on 2.0-liter diesels in the U.S., and the automaker launched an internal investigation soon afterward. The week before Volkswagen's admission, though, investigators believe that company employees deleted or hid emissions-related data, some of which could be crucial to the probe.
Volkswagen talks about adding electrics (again): For years, Volkswagen has run hot and cold on the subject of electric cars. In 2009, the head of Volkswagen's Audi brand--who now oversees Cadillac--decried the extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt as a "car for idiots". (Audi has its own electric car program, though it's often been treated like a red-headed stepchild.) A couple of years later, Volkswagen attacked the EPA's new efficiency guidelines, insisting that its "clean diesel" vehicles were capable of boosting fuel economy and reducing emissions. (Go ahead and laugh: we'll wait.)
Shortly after Dieselgate broke, Volkswagen vowed to focus more attention on electric cars, but in May, we learned that the company was working to undermine new European regulations that were friendly to EVs. Yesterday, though, CEO Matthias Muller said that Volkswagen intends to roll out 30+ electrified vehicles by the year 2025, with the goal of selling up to 3 million of them each year. It's all part of a plan called “Together: Strategy 2025”, which includes looking into the possibility of ride-sharing investments (a la General Motors and Toyota) and streamlining its components businesses.
Note: for purposes of clarity, "Volkswagen" has been used to refer to the Volkswagen Group parent company, while "VW" has been used to refer to the company's popular mass-market brand of automobiles.