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Volkswagen to hike provisions after US Dieselgate deal

The German carmaker has substantially boosted its provisions to cover the cost of its emissions-cheating scandal, after it reached a deal with US authorities to compensate customers and fix its dirty diesel cars.

Volkswagen said on Friday that it had set aside 16.2 billion euros ($18.2 billion) to cover additional costs arising from a deal Thursday with US authorities, including a $5,000-payment to each affected US customer.

The massive charges have pushed the company deeply into the red in its 2015 accounts, with the company reporting a net loss of 1.6 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for the full year.

VW said that its now larger cash reserve to cover costs was almost 10 billion euros more than the previous provision made by the carmaker following revelations in September that it cheated on diesel emissions tests. The sum is expected to be stretched over two years.

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VW reaches deal with US government

Costly US deal

On Thursday, VW reached a framework accord with the US Justice Department, California state, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Trade Commission as well as lawyers for car owners who filed class action civil suits.

The agreement involves VW's willingness to buy back a large number of the affected cars and the payment of substantial damages. If car owners so wish, their vehicles can also be fixed. Analysts said the deal could cost Volkswagen at least $10 billion.

The deal met a Thursday deadline set by US District Court Judge Charles Breyer for VW and US authorities to agree on a scheme to modify about 580,000 Volkswagen vehicles sold in the US.

The agreement in principle applies to 480,000 diesel cars in the US with 2-liter engines. Another 80,000 diesel cars with 3-liter engines are not covered by the deal.

Judge Breyer said he was pleased to announce that the parties had submitted a "concrete plan" and set a deadline until June 21 for a detailed agreement.

The US Justice Department said the agreement addressed just one aspect of the department's pending case against VW - "namely, what to do about the 2-litre diesel cars on the road and the environmental consequences resulting from their excess emissions."

The department's other investigations into VW's conduct remained active and ongoing, the department said in a statement. These included possible fines reaching into the billions of dollars for violating US environmental law.

uhe/kd (DPA, Reuters)

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