Judge delays Volkswagen 3.0-liter diesel hearing until December

The delay was set in the hopes that the parties would reach a resolution before then.

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There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but man, this is one long tunnel.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One of the final nails in Dieselgate's coffin involves Volkswagen's 3.0-liter diesels and what to do with them. While a delayed court date might seem like a setback, it's actually a glimmer of hope that this nail will be hammered soon.

US District Judge Charles Breyer pushed back Volkswagen's next court date from November 30 to December 16, Reuters reports. According to Reuters, Breyer pushed the date back because he was advised that such a delay might get the remaining 3.0-liter diesel issues resolved.

Earlier in November, sources reported that Volkswagen and federal regulators had agreed on a mixture of fixes and buybacks for the 80,000 or so affected 3.0-liter diesel vehicles. While that's a big chunk of what needs resolving, there are still other matters that need to be ironed out, including the idea of owner compensation, similar to what happened with VW's 2.0-liter diesel settlement.

According to that report, approximately 20,000 older 3.0-liter diesels would be bought back, while the remainder would be fixed with a software update. Software is the reason that the 3.0-liter diesels are still being discussed -- regulators uncovered unannounced software in these vehicles, which could potentially affect emissions.

This is different from the issue with VW's 2.0-liter diesels, wherein Volkswagen wrote software meant specifically to cheat emissions regulations. Volkswagen ended up settling for approximately $15 billion in that case, split between buybacks, cash payouts to affected owners and payments into an environmental remediation fund.

While 80,000 vehicles may seem like a low number compared to the half a million or so 2.0-liter diesels in the US, it all comes down to price. Volkswagen's smaller diesel engines were found in less expensive vehicles. The 3.0-liter TDI, however, takes up residence in more expensive vehicles like the Porsche Cayenne. Thus, a buyback of a lower quantity could still cost the automaker a fair chunk of change.

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