On Monday, Volkswagen announced that it will offer a combination of cash and dealership credit to the owners of the roughly 482,000 vehicles that were designed to cheat emissions tests. This compensation isn’t required by any regulatory or judicial command, and the company is presenting it as a gesture of goodwill. “It’s clear that our company betrayed the trust of our customers, our employees, our dealers, and the public,” said Michael Horn, the CEO of Volkswagen America, in a video message accompanying the details of the offer.
The compensation is $1,000 total, $500 of which comes in the form of a prepaid debit card and $500 of which can be put toward service at a VW dealership as well as 24-hour roadside assistance for three years. If all owners accept it, it would cost the company about $500 million, which is part of the $7.4 billion Volkswagen has set aside to deal with the fallout of its scandal. Earlier this month, the EPA accused Volkswagen of cheating on emissions tests in 10,000 more cars than the company originally admitted, and a similar package for the owners of those vehicles is likely on the way.
(Any owner who accepts Volkswagen’s package is still eligible to participate in a class-action lawsuit in order to receive further compensation in the future. There are already about 350 lawsuits filed against the company in the U.S. so far.)