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Owners of polluting VW vehicles could hear details of deal in June

TORONTO – A U.S. settlement in the Volkswagen emissions scandal that will see the automaker buy back or repair affected vehicles or compensate their owners will apply to Canadian owners of about 100,000 Volkswagen vehicles as well, VW Canada said.

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer announced Thursday that an agreement-in-principle had been reached that addresses the majority of vehicles affected by the ongoing TDI emissions issue.

Breyer has ordered all parties to keep the specifics of the agreement confidential until full details are filed in court on June 21.

Under the tentative agreement outlined by Breyer, owners of polluting Volkswagens would have the option of selling them back to the company or getting them repaired at VW’s expense.

“Resolutions reached with the EPA apply to Canada as well because our Canadian vehicles are certified by the EPA,” Thomas Tetzlaff, a spokesman for VW Canada, said in an email Friday.

In a release Thursday, Volkswagen Canada said owners do not need to take any action at this time and they will be provided with next steps once they are available.

Volkswagen has admitted some diesel cars had software installed to cheat on emission tests after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publicly revealed the scheme last September. The carmaker has said about 500,000 cars had cheated emissions tests and about 100,000 of them were sold in Canada.

“We appreciate the ongoing patience and loyalty of our Canadian Volkswagen customers, employees and dealers, and we will provide more details as additional information is released,” Volkswagen Canada said Thursday.

Details of the agreement are expected to come out over the next couple of months. Breyer set a June 21 deadline for attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department and for Volkswagen owners to file additional paperwork about the agreement.

After that, owners will get the chance to comment before Breyer signs off on any deal.

The scandal erupted in September when it was learned that the German automaker had fitted many of its cars with software to fool emissions tests and had put dirty vehicles on the road.

“Although it is too soon to tell whether VW owners will be satisfied, and there are still other liabilities that must be addressed, this is the beginning of the end of the story,” said Michael Steel, an attorney in San Francisco who has advised car manufacturers.

— With files from The Associated Press