Volkswagen Group and its Porsche unit have agreed to a class-action settlement worth at least $80 million to resolve claims it skewed emissions and fuel economy data on 500,000 Porsche vehicles in the U.S., court documents show.
The settlement, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, must be approved by a federal judge and covers 2005 through 2020 model year Porsche vehicles.
Owners of the vehicles accused the automaker of physically altering test vehicles that impacted emissions and fuel economy results. Impacted owners of eligible vehicles will receive payments of $250 to $1,109 per vehicle.
Volkswagen did not immediately comment.
Scrutiny of Volkswagen’s vehicles grew after the German automaker in 2015 disclosed it had used sophisticated software to evade emissions requirements in nearly 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.
VW settled U.S. criminal and civil actions prompted by the cheating scandal for more than $20 billion. The automaker pleaded guilty in 2017 to fraud, obstruction of justice and falsifying statements.
Lawyers for the Porsche owners said the automaker physically altered the hardware — gears connecting the drive shaft and rear axle — and manipulated the software of testing vehicles. The test vehicles emitted fewer pollutants and were more fuel efficient than the production vehicles consumers bought or leased.
Settlement documents say testing showed fuel economy may have been 1-2 mpg lower than listed on vehicle labels.
VW also will pay $250 to owners of Porsche vehicles with “Sport+” driving mode that exceeded emissions limits when driven in that mode. They will receive the payment when they complete emissions compliant repair software updates that will reduce vehicles’ emissions.
The lawsuits were prompted after a whistleblower at Porsche reported at least one suspected defeat device in certain gasoline vehicles through an internal reporting system, which prompted Porsche to report these findings to German and U.S. regulators, the lawsuit said.