Volkswagen has moved a step closer to putting the diesel emissions cheating scandal behind it.
A judge in the United States has approved a settlement that will cost the German carmaker $14.7 billion (13.5 billion euros).
Under the deal next month it will begin buying back 475,000 cars at pre-determined prices and compensate the owners $5,100 to $10,000.
The vehicles were fitted with secret software created to distort exhaust emissions tests and make them appear cleaner in testing than they really were.
This settlement covers the US Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission, the state of California and vehicle owners who had filed a class action lawsuit against VW.
Volkswagen has admitted to misleading regulators and still faces an ongoing criminal investigation.
Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller told reporters in Berlin that the settlement was “an important milestone for us on the way towards clearing up the problem that we caused some time ago.”
Further settlements due
The settlement covers 2.0-litre polluting diesel Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat and Audi A3 cars from the 2009 through 2015 model years.
VW still faces billions more in costs to address 85,000 polluting 3.0-litre vehicles and Justice Department fines for violating clean air laws.
It also faces lawsuits from at least 16 US states for additional claims that could increase the company’s overall costs from the scandal.
European owners are not being offered the same sort of compensation as those in the US, which has angered some.