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Advisory: VW Consent Decree Announced; Buy-Back Program For Select VW, Audi Vehicles To Start In Fall

Green Car showing Tire

AAA Hawaii is alerting motorists that a legal settlement has been reached with Volkswagen to remove polluting vehicles from the road with the manufacturer offering a buy-back and lease termination program. 


The settlement, once approved, would affect nearly 500,000 vehicle owners nationwide and the automaker will spend up to $15 billion to create a mitigation trust fund, to develop and promote electric-vehicle technology, and to compensate consumers.  The consumer piece is $10 billion and vehicle owners will have the option to choose either the buyback or a modification to their vehicle, if a modification is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  Cash payments up to $10,000 also will be available for certain vehicles under the announced nationwide agreement. 


VW is expected to begin buying back eligible vehicles in October, according to news reports.  AAA members who find themselves in the market for a vehicle and are considering a green car may visit


CARB and the California Attorney General announced this week that under a consent decree VW will compensate consumers who own or lease certain VW and Audi models that contain an emission control system “defeat device.”  CARB discovered that VW hid software in certain diesel vehicles to operate in a way to pass California and federal emissions certification tests but bypass the emission control system out on the road, causing the vehicles to emit up to 40 times the legally allowed nitrogen oxide level.  


California officials announced the consent decree, which the carmaker must legally follow, because the purposeful violation of state and national environmental laws was discovered in the Golden State.  The consent decree covers all 2.0-liter diesel vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen and Audi between 2009 and 2015. These include:


  • VW Jetta SportWagen (MY 2009 - 2014)
  • Audi A3 (MY 2010 - 2013, 2015)
  • VW Beetle (MY 2013 - 2015)
  • VW Beetle Convertible (MY 2013 -  2015)
  • VW Golf (MY 2010 - 2015)
  • VW Jetta (MY 2009 - 2015)
  • VW Passat (MY 2012 - 2015)
  • VW Golf SportWagen (MY 2015)


The consent decree does not cover 3.0-liter diesel vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche that the California and Federal governments allege are also equipped with defeat devices. These vehicles will be addressed later. It also does not address any potential criminal liability and it does not resolve pending claims for civil penalties. 


For more information on the details of this agreement for owners, please visit:


The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period under provisions of the federal Clean Air Act.


The proposed consent decree is available here:


The California Attorney General’s news release is available here:


An FAQ on California’s portion of the settlement is available here:



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AAA Hawai'i is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the state of Hawai'i.