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VW has dished out nearly $10 billion in Dieselgate settlements

That's a ton of cash to dish out -- let alone in just four years.

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Play dumb games, win stupid prizes. In this case, lose billions of dollars.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Volkswagen's diesel engine emissions-cheat fiasco in 2015, quickly dubbed "Dieselgate," has arguably been the biggest disrupter of the automotive industry over the last decade, at least until COVID-19. Naturally, VW's deceit elicited one hell of a response from regulators and governments.

Since settlement deals arose in 2016, Volkswagen Group has paid out over $9.5 billion in settlement funds to drivers of affected vehicles. The massive sum came to light in a final report the Federal Trade Commission put together and published Monday. In total, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche (referred to as defendants in the report) made payments to drivers associated with 88% of the so-called "Clean Diesel" vehicles.

For the most part, consumers chose the option of a buyback or early lease termination with compensation. This allowed drivers to return their car at a fair market price, or return a leased vehicle with additional compensation, no strings attached. A whopping 86% of those involved chose the cash. The other option was to simply have VW fix the diesel-powered cars so they aligned with federal emissions regulations. This also included some compensation as well. But, dumping the car totally was definitely the more popular option.

The report was hardly to bash VW Group. As a matter of fact, the FTC commended the automaker for making the entire process one of the most "successful consumer redress programs in history." The government praised VW Group for its efficiency processing claims and providing consumers with valid information along the way. This would seem like a no-brainer, but the FTC mentions a few other occasions where companies weren't so glad to give consumers back their money.

These days, diesel is totally out at the Volkswagen brand, and overall, the automaker continues to chase electric dreams. This year, we should see the ID 4 electric crossover debut to mark the brand's first EV meant for sale in the US.

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