I have no idea why it felt the need or right to jump in on this issue, but Consumer Reports is urging the Justice Department to hike compensation for 475,000 owners of Volkswagen diesel vehicles that skirt U.S. emissions rules. It also wants owners who opt for a fix the right to change their minds later.
In comments last week on the proposed agreement, the magazine said the buyback offer undervalues retail prices and urged the use of values that “would lead to buyback offers for consumers that would be at least several hundred dollars higher.”
Consumer Reports also wants owners who originally opt for a fix to be able to change their mind and instead sell the car back to Volkswagen. The magazine’s thought process there is that the car may perform differently once fixed.
The public comment period for the Volkswagen consent decrees ended August 6th. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer granted preliminary approval on July 26 to the settlement, which includes the largest-ever U.S. automotive buyback offer. Final approval is expected at a hearing October 18th.
Under the deal, Volkswagen agreed to spend up to $10 billion to buyback 2.0-liter TDI vehicles that emit up to 40 times the pollution levels allowed by law. It will also spend $5.3 billion to offset excess polluting, boost clean vehicles and compensate more than 40 U.S. states.
VW still faces fines for violating the U.S. Clean Air Act and a potential consent decree that would subject it to oversight by an independent monitor, and must resolve the fate of 85,000 3.0-liter polluting vehicles. It also faces new civil suits from New York, Maryland and Massachusetts for violating state environmental laws as well as an ongoing Justice Department criminal investigation.