VW creates US diesel emissions claims program

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

CNBC Transcript: CNBC’s Phil LeBeau Speaks with Ken Feinberg on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Today After Volkswagen Announcement.

German automaker Volkswagen, the target of US lawsuits over its pollution-cheating devices on diesel engines, said Thursday it has hired lawyer Kenneth Feinberg to handle the complaints.DETROIT (AP) — Compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg, who has worked out payments to victims of the BP Gulf oil spill, General Motors ignition switch scandal and other high-profile cases, has been hired by Volkswagen to do the same thing for car owners caught in an emissions-cheating scandal.

Feinberg, known for handling large consumer compensation cases such as the deadly ignition switches used in some General Motors cars, was hired to design and administer an independent claims resolution program to address claims related to the diesel-engine vehicles equipped with emissions standards-spoofing software. Musk, the letter to California Air Resources Board regulators was signed by Internet entrepreneur and former eBay Inc. executive Jeff Skoll and Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club environmental group.

More than a half-million of the diesel cars in the U.S. have software that cheats on emissions tests, and several federal agencies are investigating Volkswagen’s conduct. The scandal first emerged in the United States in September, where a number of class-action suits against VW have been filed. “We are pleased to announce the retention of Kenneth Feinberg.

Feinberg’s extensive experience in handling complex claims “will help to guide us as we move forward to make things right with our customers,” Michael Horn, VW’s U.S. Feinberg’s program would address U.S. owners of nearly 500,000 cars with two-liter diesel engines and another roughly 85,000 vehicles with three-liter diesel engines that regulators found contained illegal software able to dupe government emissions tests. KENNETH FEINBERG: OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS I’VE SAT DOWN WITH VOLKSWAGEN HERE IN NORTH AMERICA RIGHT OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON, D.C., AND WE DISCUSSED THE DESIRE OF THE COMPANY TO SET UP SOME SORT OF CLAIMS PROGRAM, SIMILAR IN STRUCTURE TO THE 9/11 FUND, THE BP OIL SPILL FUND, THE GM IGNITION SWITCH FUND TO SEE IF IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO DEVELOP A PROGRAM THAT WOULD VOLUNTARILY ENCOURAGE INDIVIDUAL ELIGIBLE CAR OWNERS TO COME INTO THE PROGRAM INSTEAD OF LITIGATING. Volkswagen and Audi officials were scheduled to meet with U.S. environmental regulators on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, this week to discuss possible fixes for the vehicles, said a person familiar with the matter.

YOU’RE RIGHT, WE’RE JUST BEGINNING TO SIT DOWN NOW AS WE DID A YEAR AND A HALF AGO WITH GENERAL MOTORS AND PLAN A PROTOCOL THAT WOULD ENCOMPASS ELIGIBLE VEHICLES, AND A DETERMINATION OF WHAT TYPE OF VEHICLES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A MENU OF REMEDIES. He expects compensation would be limited to car owners, and that they would have to get recall repairs made and give up their right to sue VW in order to get payments. In Germany, Volkswagen made sweeping changes to its senior management in what the company said was a move to reduce complexity and speed up decision making. Camille Biros, deputy administrator of the VW fund led by Feinberg, said the firm will set up a website in the next several weeks for people to submit ideas for a compensation plan.

Experts say the hardware, including exhaust system modifications and a possible chemical treatment system, could hurt the cars gas mileage or performance. I WAS JUST CURIOUS, THIS NICHE THAT YOU’VE CARVED OUT FOR YOURSELF OVER THE YEARS, YOU KNOW, YOU TRULY YOU HAVE DEVELOPED THIS BLUEPRINT FOR HOW YOU VALUE A LIFE OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE DOING IN A PARTICULAR FUND. THIS IS AUTOMOBILE PROPERTY AND AUTOMOBILE – AN AUTOMOBILE FIX, OR A SOLUTION, RATHER THAN DEATH AND INJURY, WHICH IS FORTUNATE THAT WE DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT. GIVEN THE FACT THAT YOU ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE LOSS OF LIFE AND CERTAINLY NOT MILLIONS OF VEHICLES, DO YOU EXPECT THIS TO BE A FUND THAT YOU COULD WRAP UP SO TO SPEAK RELATIVELY QUICKLY?

WE WOULD HOPE THAT IN CONTRAST TO THE CONVENTIONAL LITIGATION SYSTEM WHERE CLAIMS CAN DRAG ON IN COURT FOR YEARS, WE WOULD HOPE, AS WITH 9/11, BP AND GM, TO COME TO A FAIRLY EFFICIENT AND SWIFT PROCESSING OF THESE CLAIMS. These include CNBC.com, the online destination for global business; CNBC PRO, the premium, integrated desktop/mobile service that provides real-time global market data and live access to CNBC global programming; and a suite of CNBC Mobile products including the CNBC Real-Time iPhone and iPad Apps. Members of the media can receive more information about CNBC and its programming on the NBC Universal Media Village Web site at http://www.nbcumv.com/mediavillage/networks/cnbc/.

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