Volkswagen is close to a $2 billion settlement deal after a US criminal investigation into the emissions-cheating scandal. A settlement is crucial to VW's aim of rebuilding in the US, a key part of its long-term plans.
A settlement between the US Department of Justice and the German auto giant could come as early as next week, the "New York Times" reported on Friday, citing three people who were not identified.
VW said it was continuing to cooperate with US authorities to resolve the case.
VW admitted in 2016 it had installed software on 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide to circumvent tests for emissions. The software enabled them to release up to 40 times the permitted amounts of nitrogen oxides during driving.
Fixing diesel cars
VW also won long-awaited approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fix about 70,000 diesel vehicles.
A second phase of the fix will start about a year from now when VW will install more software updates and new hardware, including a diesel particulate filter, diesel oxidation catalyst and NOx catalyst.
The remedy will fix 2015 models of the Volkswagen Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Jetta and Passat as well as the Audi A3. The EPA and Volkswagen say the fix won't affect the cars' fuel economy, reliability or driving characteristics.
Civil charges already agreed
VW has already settled civil charges in the scandal, agreeing to pay $14.7 billion (13.95 billion euros) in an agreement that permits owners of nearly a half million 2.0-liter diesel vehicles to sell them back or get them fixed.
The company said in December it had reached an additional $1 billion civil agreement with US authorities for a similar on deal covering 80,000 3.0-liter diesel vehicles, an agreement yet to be approved by a judge.
Prosecutors and VW have said they want to resolve the case before President Barack Obama leaves office on January 20. If a deal is not reached before then it could significantly delay an agreement.
VW faces ongoing lawsuits from at least 19 US states and a judge ruled this week it must face investor lawsuits in a California court.
Volkswagen brand sales fell 8 percent in 2016; overall industry sales were flat. But Audi sales were less affected, rising 4 percent for the year.
jbh/kl (AFP, Reuters, AP)