This page last January 6, 2017

What did Volkswagen do?

Between 2009 and 2015, Volkswagen (VW) sold approximately 500,000 2.0 L diesel vehicles equipped with "defeat devices" designed to control emissions during certification and to illegally turn off emissions controls during on-road driving. These vehicles emit up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than U.S. EPA and California-compliant levels. NOx is an air pollutant that contributes to the formation of ozone and particulate matter. It can greatly aggravate health problems such as asthma and cardio-pulmonary disease, and is a particularly serious problem in California.

This partial consent decree resolves these alleged violations but does not deal with actual penalties against the company. Those will be determined through a separate process.

The partial consent decree requires Volkswagen to offer an emissions modification for some of the affected passenger cars.

Which vehicles are eligible?

VW's defeat device was installed in about a half-million cars in the US of which about 71,000 were sold in California. There are several "generations" of engines in these vehicles. Some of these cars are not suitable for modification, but the company is trying to modify as many as it can. However, CARB and the U.S. EPA will approve a modification only if it meets extremely stringent requirements listed in the Partial Consent Decree.

This first approved modification is for "generation 3" vehicles only, which are model year 2015 2.0 liter, diesel passenger cars. There are more than 10,000 of these vehicles in California.

The 2015 vehicles eligible for modification are the Audi A3, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Golf, Golf Sportwagen, Jetta and Passat.

How will I be notified if my car is eligible?

The automakers must notify eligible owners by letter or email within 10 days of modification approval.

When will I be notified?

With the approval of this modification VW can begin notifying customers. Please check here for details: vwcourtsettlement.com

What is the modification?

The modification is a 2-step process and includes a new Diesel Particulate Filter, Diesel Oxidation Catalyst, and Selective Catalytic Reduction Converter . Phase 2 involves a second NOx sensor and corresponding software to improve the performance of the Onboard Diagnostic (OBD) system.

How will it affect vehicle performance?

CARB and USEPA will not approve proposed modifications which have a significant impact on vehicle performance, mileage or safety.

Am I required to get this modification?

No. However, owners or lessees who do not get the modification will be ineligible for extended warranties being offered on modified vehicles.

Can I still register or sell my car if I don't get the modification?

Yes. No vehicle will fail a smog check because of the presence of the defeat device involved in this case. Vehicles may fail however, for improper maintenance or other issues not associated with the defeat device.

Why will VW be allowed to do this modification if it doesn't get the cars all the way back to where the emissions are required to be?

VW will pay $2.7 billion dollars to mitigate all past and future excess NOx emissions from affected 2.0 liter diesels. California will receive $1.2 billion of that money to cover environmental harm in the state.

Will this cost me anything?

Per the Partial Consent Decree, all modifications are to be done at no cost to vehicle owners or lessees.

When will the emissions modifications for Generation 1 and 2 of the 2.0 liter diesel vehicles be considered and approved?

The consent decree calls for VW to submit an emission modification proposal to EPA for the Generations 1 by January 2017 and Generation 2 by March 2017. EPA and CARB will work as expeditiously as possible to review the proposed modifications. The priority for EPA and CARB review will be to conduct extensive testing and engineering analysis to ensure that the modifications will achieve agreed-upon levels of emissions compliance over the regulated test cycles and under on-road driving conditions, and to identify and quantify impacts on vehicle owners such as any changes to performance or fuel economy. Consumers will not have to make a decision between buy back and emissions modification until after the emissions modifications are approved.

How long do owners have to decide whether to sell their cars back to the company or have the emissions modification for their gen 3 cars?

Eligible consumers have until September 1, 2018 to submit a claim under the related consumer class action settlement in order to choose between a buyback with additional consumer compensation or an emission modification with additional compensation. Consumers who do not submit a claim by September 1, 2018 can continue to choose the emission modification after that time, but they will no longer be eligible to receive the consumer compensation payments available under the class action settlement.