Europe's largest carmaker now has until April 21 to develop a plan to fix the emissions cheating software on nearly 600,000 cars. A bench trial may result if the new deadline isn't met, District Court Judge Breyer says.
US Judge Charles Breyer extended the deadline to April 21 for Volkswagen to develop a plan to fix nearly 600,000 vehicles equipped with emissions cheating software.
"The issue of what is to be done with these cars must be done by that date," Judge Breyer said. He asked for specific timing of a repair plan as well as any plans to repay affected customers.
He warned that if VW failed to meet the new deadline, "the court would seriously consider whether to hold a bench trial this summer so that the polluting cars can be addressed forthwith."
The announcement came at an anticipated conference in San Francisco, where Judge Breyer received briefings from company attorneys on the status of plans for the fix.
March 24 was previously set as the date by which Volkswagen would have to decide upon a course of action acceptable to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Negotiations between VW and the EPA have been said to be contentions.
Volkswagen had requested more time on Wednesday. Breyer said at the conference that former FBI Director Robert Mueller briefed him on substantial progress made between Volkswagen, regulators and attorneys for car owners towards a workable solution. Only technical issues regarding the implementation were said to be left unresolved.
The German carmaker admitted in September that it intentionally installed cheating software that enabled its cars to pass laboratory emissions tests, despite emitting levels of nitrogen oxide up to 40 times the permitted level.
A slew of lawsuits against Volkswagen followed. Before Judge Breyer are suits filed by the US Justice Department, on behalf of the EPA, as well as by hundreds of VW car owners.
In a separate development Thursday, VW announced it was recalling 800,000 vehicles over possible footpedal problems, with 90,000 cars to be fixed in Germany. The Wolfsburg-based company said Touareg and Porsche Cayenne cars built between 2011 and 2016 were affected.
Porsche said in a statement that a precautionary inspection was required, because "a clip may have become dislodged from the pedal bracket in the affected models. VW added there had been "no reports of accidents or injuries as a result of this concern."
The announcement came two days after the German carmaker said it was recalling 177,000 of its Passat vehicles in Europe owing to a potential electrical fault.
jtm/hg (dpa, Reuters)