Volkswagen Jetta CKD 15

In the United States, a judge has given Volkswagen and US regulators an April 21 deadline to agree on a fix for nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles affected by the automaker’s emissions cheating scandal, Reuters reports.

Initially, US District Judge Charles Breyer had set a March 24 deadline for VW to explain where it stood on efforts to sort out an emissions fix acceptable to US regulators. The automaker has been in talks for months with the US Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) over how to address the problem.

At a hearing in San Francisco yesterday, word was that progress was being made in intensive negotiations, but issues remain and no settlement had yet been reached. Breyer explained that the remedy could involve fixing the roughly 580,000 US vehicles or buybacks and other options, but did not elaborate further.

If a deal isn’t reached by the April 21 deadline, the judge stated he would consider holding a trial this summer to address the issue, in which the EPA says the affected vehicles are emitting up to 40 times the legally allowable pollution in real world driving conditions.

VW jetta TDI US-spec

A central issue is whether the EPA will accept a fix that doesn’t completely address excess on-road emissions. Earlier this month, a CARB official said the state may allow partially-repaired VW diesel cars to continue operating on its roads, because a full fix may be impossible.

First reported in January, an option would be a potential buyback of a significant number of older vehicles, as well as possible financial incentives for owners to get their vehicles repaired.

Last month, the US Justice Department sued VW for up to US$46 billion for violating the country’s environmental laws, and VW, as well as its Audi and Porsche brands, remain barred from selling any new 2016 diesel models in the United States.