VW's diesel buyback gets preliminary go-ahead from judge

This will allow the company to set up a site where diesel owners can see how much they're going to receive as part of the settlement.

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Volkswagen is hard at work on a fix for its 2.0-liter diesels, but there's no guarantee if it will pass regulatory muster.

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When Volkswagen announced that it had come to terms with federal regulators on a $15 billion settlement, there still remained many steps between that point and the settlement program actually kicking in. One of those steps is now behind us, as a federal judge just granted preliminary approval to VW's buyback scheme.

US District Judge Charles Breyer, who's been overseeing the settlement case, granted that preliminary approval on Tuesday, Reuters reports. This means Volkswagen will be able to start discussing buyback terms with buyers, likely through a website where 2.0-liter diesel owners can enter their information and discover just how much money the settlement will pay out.

While that part of VW's settlement might be moving forward, the automaker is having a harder time in other areas. It's still working to devise a fix for its 2.0-liter TDI engines, and that will require approval from both the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. It's still working on settlement terms, including a fix, for its 3.0-liter diesels, as well.

Volkswagen's $15 billion settlement will see most of that money going toward buybacks. The remainder is earmarked for environmental remediation funds, which will work to reverse the damage caused by VW's diesels, which have been emitting nitrogen oxides well in excess of legal limits.