Volkswagen Group of America’s settlement of a class-action lawsuit over alleged defects in the continuously variable transmissions in thousands of Audi vehicles has received final approval in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
The settlement, approved Sept. 25 by Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell, resolves the lawsuit filed in January 2011 that covers drivers who bought or leased 2002-06 Audi A4s, including Cabriolets, or A6s with factory-installed CVTs in the United States.
The original lawsuit — Anna Sadowska, Yanick Godbout and Tonya DenDekker v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc., Volkswagen AG and Audi AG — argued that manufacturing and design problems caused the transmissions to fail and left owners stuck with repair costs. The suit also alleged that Audi was aware of the problems and hid them from consumers.
Audi denied the allegation, but agreed to reimburse customers for certain repairs and costs. The final settlement — covering about 64,000 vehicles — does not mention any wrongdoing on the automaker’s part.
Audi declined to comment since the case is still open to appeal.
According to court documents, terms of the amended settlement include:
Audi drivers with certain CVT repairs occurring within 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurred first, of the original sale or lease of the vehicle before June 19, 2013, are entitled to a cash reimbursement. The initial powertrain coverage was 4 years/50,000 miles. Parts for reimbursement vary by model year.
To receive a cash reimbursement, Audi drivers must submit a claim form with supporting documents no later than Nov. 18.
Audi will extend its new-vehicle limited warranty to cover repair or replacement of qualifying CVT parts by an authorized Audi dealer if the problem occurred within 100,000 miles or 10 years from the date of the original purchase or lease.
The settlement also includes a trade-in reimbursement for lost value of a 2002-04 A4 or A6 needing a replacement CVT after the normal warranty expired but the vehicle was sold or traded with no repair. The settlement does not make clear why 2005-06 vehicles are not covered.
Owners with certain 2002 and 2003 vehicles beyond the extended warranty can still be reimbursed for the specified repair if the problem occurred within 100,000 miles or 10 years.
Owners claiming personal injury, property damage or subrogation are excluded from the settlement, court documents show.
The court awarded $2.4 million in fees, costs and expenses to the plaintiff’s attorneys, and approved incentive awards of $5,000 to Sadowska and Yanick, and $1,000 to DenDekker.