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A U.S. federal district court has given the 3.0-liter diesel buyback, compensation and repair settlement preliminary approval, bringing the owners of some 80,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche models closer to a resolution. The preliminary approval is the intermediate step before an expected final green light in May 2017, which will immediately launch the claim and compensation process.

The $1.2 billion settlement will allow for potential buybacks of some 20,000 VW and Audi vehicles from the 2009-12 model years and the eventual repair of more than 58,000 VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles from the 2013-16 model years. Owners of the former group — Generation 1 vehicles — will have the option of selling their vehicles back, trading them in or obtaining a fix, in addition to cash compensation that will range from $7,755 to $13,880. Generation 2 vehicles are expected to be brought into compliance as originally certified, with owners and lessees of these vehicles due to receive $7,039 to $16,114 in compensation in addition to a technical fix, which is still expected to be available in the coming months.

Owners of the Gen 2 vehicles can receive monetary compensation before any fix is approved by the EPA, the approval and timing of which is currently uncertain. And for the purpose of calculating the values of all vehicles, the date of Sept. 18, 2015 will be used — the time frame just before the EPA’s announcement of the discovery of defeat devices in VW Group diesels. This will lock in the vehicles’ values to pre-diesel crisis values.

Ferdinand Piech

“We are pleased the court has granted preliminary approval, which brings us another step closer to achieving the settlements’ goals: providing consumers fair value for their vehicles, while repairing or removing illegally polluting vehicles from the road,” said Elizabeth Cabraser, lead counsel for the consumer plaintiffs in the litigation. “We have heard from many owners and lessees who are eager to take advantage of the settlement, and we look forward to finalizing this agreement so these benefits can quickly begin reaching both consumers and the environment.”

If VW’s technical fix is not approved by the EPA, the automaker stands to pay approximately $4.04 billion in the settlement, with the plaintiffs then expected to ask the court to approve a buyback program for the remaining Gen 2 vehicles.

2016 VW e-Golf

The claim and compensation process is expected to start shortly after the court issues a final approval of the settlement on May 11 of this year, with VW expected to dispatch claim specialists to VW, Audi and Porsche dealerships across the country.