U.S. Volkswagen owners: Your compensation from scandal settlement

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A U.S. flag flutters in the wind above a Volkswagen dealership in Carlsbad, California, U.S. May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE has agreed to offer nearly 500,000 owners of diesel vehicles it sold in the United States a choice between selling their cars back to VW, or waiting to see if the company can develop technology that brings the vehicles into compliance with pollution standards. The deal also includes cash compensation.

Here’s what you need to know, according to the settlement:

Who can file a claim?

Owners of certain Volkswagen and Audi cars with 2.0 liter diesel engines from model years 2009-2015 are eligible under the settlement. The deal covers the following models:

Volkswagen - Beetle, Beetle Convertible 2013-2015, Golf 2-Door 2010-2013, Golf 4-Door 2010-2015, Golf SportWagen 2015, Jetta 2009-2015, Jetta SportWagen 2009-2014, Passat 2012-2015

Audi - A3 2010-2013, 2015

What are the options?

Volkswagen will pay cash compensation of at least $5,100 to each owner. In addition, owners may opt for a buyback by Volkswagen or wait for VW to develop a fix that can win regulatory approval.

For cars whose owners sold them after the scandal hit, the cash payment will be divided between the previous and new owners.

Lessees will receive 10 percent of the car’s base value plus $1,529.005. They can have their leases terminated with no fee.

What is the buyback option?

Under the buyback option, owners who purchased vehicles before Sept. 18, 2015 will get the vehicle’s pre-scandal value, adjusted for options and mileage. The value will be determined based on the Clean Trade-In Value in the September 2015 edition of the NADA Used Car Guide.

What is the modification option?

Some owners may want Volkswagen to fix to their cars to make them compliant with environmental regulations. That fix may not be available until May 1, 2018, if at all. If no fix becomes available, those owners can then choose the buyback option. Owners choosing the fix will receive the same cash compensation as those who opted for the buyback.

How might the modification affect my vehicle’s performance?

The impact is not yet known. If and when a fix is approved by regulators, Volkswagen will send owners disclosures that will detail the effect on emissions levels, reliability, durability, fuel economy, noise vibration and harshness, vehicle performance, drivability and other vehicle attributes.

How soon must I decide what to do?

Owners do not need to choose between a buyback or a modification until they are notified whether a fix is available. Regardless of which option is chosen, owners must submit a claim to by Sept 1, 2018. Owners may begin submitting information to Volkswagen on July 26, 2016.

How soon will I be compensated?

The earliest will be October 2016. Similarly, Volkswagen will begin buybacks no earlier than October 2016.

Does the settlement address 3.0 liter engine cars?

No. A settlement to address some 80,000 3.0 liter vehicles sold by Volkswagen in the United States is still pending.

What if I am not sure whether the settlement covers me?

You can go to or call 1-844-98-CLAIM. You may also write VW Court Settlement, P.O. Box 214500, Auburn Hills, MI 48326.

Why was there a lawsuit?

In the biggest scandal in its history, the German automaker admitted in September to outfitting its diesel cars with software to evade emissions tests. Those “defeat devices” allowed its 2.0 liter cars to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Dan Grebler