Volkswagen AG may be close to an agreement with U.S. environmental officials over a recall of nearly 500,000 diesel-powered vehicles that were rigged to cheat on emissions tests and could end up paying far less in compensation than anticipated.
Mary Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, told the German business daily Handelsblatt that talks with Volkswagen over fixing the tainted diesel vehicles were “going well” and that the German car maker was “clearly more forthcoming” than in the past.
“Based on our estimates, the vehicles can be repaired in such a way that the emissions can be reduced by 80% to 90%,” Ms. Nichols was quoted as saying. “That’s not entirely 100%, but that’s why there is a fund that compensates for emissions—both in the past and future.”
Last month, Volkswagen
agreed to a $15 billion settlement with U.S. car owners, state officials, and environmental authorities. As part of the plan, Volkswagen is offering car owners the option of having their vehicles fixed or selling their cars back to a Volkswagen dealer.
Ms. Nichols’ comments suggest that most of the Volkswagen diesel vehicles in the U.S. could be repaired, which could save the company billions of dollars if car owners opt for the repair instead of selling their cars back to the company.