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Volkswagen to update US judge on last cars in emissions scandal

A federal judge in the US is due to hear whether Volkswagen, American regulators and lawyers for vehicle owners have reached a deal over the remaining 80,000 cars caught up in the company's emissions scandal.

US District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco is set to get an update about the settlement talks. At issue is what to do with some 80,000 3-litre cars which spewed excess pollution after being programmed to cheat on emissions tests.

Volkswagen lawyer Robert Giuffra has said the company believes it can recall and fix the vehicles without affecting their performance.

The German car giant previously reached a deal over the other 475,000 polluting vehicles in the scandal. That settlement gives owners the option to have Volkswagen buy back their vehicles regardless of condition for the full trade-in price on September 18 2015, when the scandal broke, or pay for repairs.

Regulators have not approved any fixes. Either way, Volkswagen also will pay owners 5,100-10,000 US dollars (£4,000-8,000) each, depending on the age of the car and whether the owner had it prior to September 18 last year.

Volkswagen has agreed to spend up to 10 billion US dollars (£8 billion) compensating consumers.

The settlement also includes 2.7 billion US dollars (£2.2 billion) for unspecified environmental mitigation and 2 billion US dollars (£1.6 billion) to promote zero-emissions vehicles.

The global scandal erupted last year when the US Environmental Protection Agency said Volkswagen had fitted many of its cars with software to fool emissions tests. Car owners and the US Department of Justice sued.

The software recognised when the cars were being tested on a treadmill and turned on pollution controls. The controls were turned off when the cars returned to the road. The EPA alleged the scheme let the cars spew up to 40 times the allowable limit of nitrogen oxide, which can cause respiratory problems in humans.

The scandal has damaged Volkswagen's reputation and hurt its sales. The company has reached a separate 1.2 billion US billion (£1 billion) deal with its US dealers and is still facing potentially billions more in fines and penalties and possible criminal charges.

The judge previously postponed a November 30 hearing about the 3-litre vehicles after former FBI director Robert Mueller said additional time might lead to a resolution. Mr Mueller is overseeing settlement discussions.

AP

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