Volkswagen AG could be adding as much as $1.2 billion to its tab for its diesel emissions cheating by way of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
In June, Reuters reported a criminal settlement was being negotiated with the DOJ that could include a consent decree, an independent monitor overseeing VW, and hefty fines for emissions rules violations.
That process has taken longer than anticipated due to the pace of VW’s internal investigation. Another complication has been separate civil suits filed by three states, according to people familiar with the investigation.
The DOJ declined to comment on the fines or settlement process.
The overall cost of settlement for VW is increasing in the U.S. and other markets including Germany and South Korea. VW agreed to in June to pay $15.3 billion for a diesel car owner buyback or repair and funding growth in the electric car charging infrastructure. That total also included $2.7 billion to government and tribal agencies to replace old buses or to fund infrastructure to reduce diesel emissions.
Along with the DOJ settlement, VW still faces a costly outcome of its buyback being increased with another 85,000 3.0-liter Audi, Porsche, and VW cars and SUVs sold in the U.S. since 2009. As for the state lawsuits, three U.S. states last month led by New York filed suits demanding hundreds of millions of dollars over VW executives covering up evidence on diesel emissions test cheating.
A VW spokesman said the company “is committed to earning back the trust of our customers, dealers, regulators and the American public. As we have said previously, Volkswagen is cooperating with federal and state regulators in the United States, including the Department of Justice, and our discussions are continuing toward a resolution of remaining issues.”
U.S. automakers have had to face a few major civil lawsuit settlements and criminal investigations in recent years. In 2014, Toyota agreed to pay $1.2 billion in fines over a DOJ investigation into its unintended acceleration incidents. General Motors agreed to pay $900 last September over its ignition-switch defect linked to 124 fatalities. That agreement included GM signing a deferred-prosecution agreement for DOJ to end the investigation.