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5 things to know about the largest auto scandal settlement in US history




The logo of German car maker Volkswagen is pictured at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, central Germany, on September 25, 2015 during the company's supervisory board meeting. Matthias Mueller, head of luxury sportscar maker Porsche, looks set to take the steering wheel at scandal-hit Volkswagen, replacing Martin Winterkorn who quit over the global pollution cheating scandal engulfing the group.  AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL        (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
The logo of German car maker Volkswagen is pictured at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, central Germany, on September 25, 2015 during the company's supervisory board meeting. Matthias Mueller, head of luxury sportscar maker Porsche, looks set to take the steering wheel at scandal-hit Volkswagen, replacing Martin Winterkorn who quit over the global pollution cheating scandal engulfing the group. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

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Earlier this morning in San Francisco, a federal judge approved Volkwagen's nearly $15 billion dollar settlement with regulators and owners of its diesel vehicles. 

It's been a little more than a year now since the German automaker first admitted to using secret software to cheat exhaust emissions tests.

Sue Carpenter, who covers mobility for KPCC,  joined Alex Cohen to talk about the five main takeaways from the largest auto settlement in history.

1. Where's all that money going? 

"Well, about $10 billion of that will go to the owners of these two liter affected diesels of VW and Audi cars. $2.7 billion dollars of that is supposed to go into an environmental trust. Another $2 billion is going to be invested over 10 years into zero emissions vehicle infrastructure access and awareness programs, so that's basically the whole kit and kaboodle right there."

2. How many car owners will this affect?

"475,000 cars, a lot of people have already put in for their buybacks, I think the most current figure is that 336,000 people have already opted for the settlement. About 3,300 have opted out. As soon as the preliminary approval was granted in July, people were already filing to get these settlements taken care of but they will start to become effective November 1st."

3. What options do car owners have other than buyback?

"You can have your lease bought out or you can have your car fixed. The thing is that we just don't know if there's ever going to be an appropriate fix for this car, it hasn't been put out there yet. It definitely has not been approved so that's just a big question mark right now."

4. It's no surprise the judge approved this plan.

"During the court hearing in July, he granted his preliminary approval which basically outlined everything that he definitively approved, just this morning."

5. Will VW weather this storm?

"Well, it seems like they're weathering it okay. Their sales are down but they have not been wiped out. They're sticking to the U.S. market and they're kind of pivoting away from diesel, they're embracing electric vehicles. I would expect to really see that in full force at the upcoming L.A. auto show."

To hear the full interview, click the blue play button above.