Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Jun 28 2016

More than 22,000 Washingtonians will also receive hundreds of millions in restitution

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced a more than $26 million agreement with Volkswagen over its deceptive marketing of its “clean diesel” vehicles, plus restitution for consumers and billions in investments in clean technology development and environmental mitigation.  

The $26.1 million recovery is believed to represent the third-largest Consumer Protection recovery in Washington’s history.

In related litigation, hundreds of millions of dollars will be returned to Washington consumers as restitution, and Volkswagen will either buy back or repair affected vehicles.

“Consumers specifically sought these supposedly green vehicles in an effort to make a better choice for the environment, only to discover Volkswagen deliberately deceived them,” Ferguson said. “Volkswagen pulled a bait-and-switch on Washington consumers, and our agreement holds them accountable.”

Today’s announcement is part of a series of state and federal agreements that will provide cash payments to affected consumers and require Volkswagen to buy back or modify certain VW and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles.

AG Ferguson, along with attorneys general of five other states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Tennessee), co-led a multi-state coalition of states and jurisdictions investigating the allegations against Volkswagen. The group raised numerous consumer protection claims, which are resolved by today’s agreements. They also resolve actions against Volkswagen brought by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), California and car owners in private class action suits.  

As a result of this agreement with the attorneys general, Volkswagen will pay the states $1,100 per car for repeated violations of consumer protection laws, for a total of $570 million nationwide. This includes $24,387,000 to Washington for the 22,170 affected vehicles sold in the state. Washington will also receive an additional $1,739,120 for its role as a leader in the investigation, for a total of more than $26 million.

Volkswagen will also pay $20 million to the states for their costs in investigating this matter and to establish a fund that state attorneys general can utilize for future initiatives, including investigations concerning emissions violations and automobile compliance. 

Today’s agreement preserves all claims under state environmental laws. Consequently, Washington maintains the right to seek environmental penalties from Volkswagen for its violations of environmental and emissions laws and regulations. 

The full details of the agreement will be available online at VWCourtSettlement.com and www.ftc.gov/VWSettlement.

$10 billion restitution, recall program

Under the agreements, Volkswagen is required to implement a restitution and recall program for more than 475,000 owners and lessees of 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, of the model year 2009 through 2015 listed in the chart below at a maximum cost of just over $10 billion. This includes 22,170 vehicles in Washington.


2.0 Liter Diesel Models


Model Year



EPA Test Group

Vehicle Make and Model(s)




VW Jetta, VW Jetta Sportwagen



VW Golf, VW Jetta, VW Jetta Sportwagen, Audi A3



VW Golf, VW Jetta, VW Jetta Sportwagen, Audi A3



VW Golf, VW Jetta, VW Jetta Sportwagen, Audi A3



VW Beetle, VW Beetle Convertible, VW Golf, VW Jetta, VW Jetta Sportwagen, Audi A3



VW Beetle, VW Beetle Convertible, VW Golf, VW Jetta, VW Jetta Sportwagen





VW Passat



VW Beetle, VW Beetle Convertible, VW Golf, VW Golf Sportwagen, VW Jetta, VW Passat, Audi A3


Once the consumer program is approved by the court, affected Volkswagen owners will receive restitution of at least $5,100 and a choice between:

  • A buy back of the vehicle (based on pre-scandal National Automobile Dealers Association value); or
  • A modification to reduce emissions, provided that Volkswagen can develop a modification acceptable to regulators. Owners will still be eligible to choose a buyback in the event regulators do not approve a fix. Owners who choose the modification option will also receive an Extended Emission Warranty; and a Lemon Law-type remedy to protect against the possibility that the modification causes subsequent problems.

The consumer program also provides benefits and restitution for lessees (restitution and a no-penalty lease termination option) and sellers after September 18, 2015 when the emissions-cheating scandal was disclosed (50 percent of the restitution available to owners).

$2.7 billion Environmental Mitigation Fund

Volkswagen will pay $2.7 billion into a trust to support environmental programs throughout the country to reduce emissions of NOx. This fund, also subject to court approval, is intended to mitigate the total, lifetime excess NOx emissions from the 2.0-liter diesel vehicles identified below. Under the terms of the mitigation trust, Washington is eligible to receive $103 million to fund mitigation projects.

$2 billion in Zero Emission Vehicles investment

Volkswagen has committed to investing $2 billion over the next 10 years for the development of non-polluting cars, or Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), and supporting infrastructure.

“Clean diesel” background

For a decade, Volkswagen allegedly equipped vehicles marketed as “clean diesel” with a “defeat device,” enabling them to cheat emissions tests and deceptively portray gas mileage, performance or durability and suppress cost. Without these devices, the affected Volkswagens, Audis and Porsches would not have been able to pass emissions tests.

Between 2009 and 2015, more than 20,000 of these vehicles were sold in Washington.

In May 2014, researchers at West Virginia University road tested two Volkswagen diesel models, and discovered some cars emitted almost 40 times the legally allowed amount of nitrogen oxides.

"Let's be clear about this. Our company was dishonest. With the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board, and with all of you,” said Michael Horn, head of Volkswagen’s U.S. division, at an event in New York last year.  “We’ve totally screwed up.”



The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.



Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov