A federal judge in California granted preliminary approval today to USD 14.7 billion settlement over Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal. At the close of a hearing in San Francisco, US District Judge Charles Breyer praised the "enormous effort" made by both sides.
The development signaled that the German automaker was more than likely to put one episode within the scandal behind it definitively later this year.
"There's been an enormous effort to achieve a series of goals," said Breyer. "I think these goals have been achieved," he added, setting an 18 October deadline for final approval of the deal.
The settlement, the terms of which were announced last month, concerns nearly a half-million 2.0 liter Audi and Volkswagen diesel cars sold in the US between 2008 and 2015.
Regulators learned last year that the vehicles had been deliberately calibrated to deceive laboratory tests for nitrogen oxide emissions.
A separate settlement concerning 3.0 liter engines was rebuffed earlier this month by officials in California. The California Air Resources Board found that modifications proposed by Volkswagen were insufficient in that case.
In the settlement for two-liter cars, owners will be eligible for buybacks, penalty-free lease terminations or free modifications to fix the vehicles' emissions. All participants are also to receive cash payments.
The settlement involves the US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission as well as the State of California and private plaintiffs.