UK Markets open in 6 hrs 12 mins

Judge approves $80 million Porsche U.S. vehicle settlement

FILE PHOTO: The Porsche logo as the reveal of the 2020 Porsche 911 Speedster at the 2019 New York International Auto Show in New York

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. judge on Wednesday granted final approval to a class-action settlement worth at least $80 million to resolve claims Volkswagen AG and its Porsche AG unit skewed emissions and fuel economy data on 500,000 Porsche vehicles in the United States.

The settlement, first reported by Reuters in June, covers 2005 through 2020 model year Porsche vehicles. Owners accused the automaker of physically altering test vehicles that affected emissions and fuel economy results.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer also approved $24.5 million in attorneys' fees and costs.

Owners of eligible vehicles will receive payments of $250 to $1,109 per vehicle.

Porsche said on Wednesday that it has "been working to develop a solution and to ensure customers are appropriately compensated."

"We are committed to providing our customers with transparent fuel economy and emissions data, and the agreement ensures that customers are fairly reimbursed for any fuel economy changes," it added.

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.

Under the settlement, owners of Porsche vehicles with "Sport+" driving mode that exceeded emissions limits when driven in that mode will get an additional $250 when they complete emissions repair software updates that will reduce vehicle emissions.

The total U.S. settlement could be worth $85 million depending on how many vehicle claims are submitted.

Lawyers for the owners said that as of Oct. 11, nearly 110,000 claims had been submitted covering about 100,000 vehicles and that 13,773 owners have already brought Sport+ vehicles to dealers for updates.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Sandra Maler and Bill Berkrot)