One chapter of the Dieselgate saga has come to a close: Volkswagen and Porsche have finished paying out $9.5 billion in compensation to defrauded U.S. car owners.
The Federal Trade Commission filed its final report on the settlement Monday, declaring the process "materially complete."
For years, Volkswagen marketed "clean diesel" vehicles that actually spewed out illegal levels of pollutants — and were specifically programmed to cheat on emissions tests to hide the problem. The deceptive engines were used in Volkswagens, Audis and Porsches.
The truth came out in 2015, with a high-profile settlement reached the following year. As the FTC noted, "[F]or many people, that was the end of the road. But ... the parties involved in the litigation had many more miles to travel."
Compensating the owners or lessees of more than 550,000 vehicles in the U.S. took some time. The vast majority of owners — 86% — opted to sell their vehicles back to the manufacturer, rather than choose a modification to the vehicle.
It was the largest false advertising action ever taken by the FTC, and the agency has now declared it "one of the most successful consumer redress programs in history."
Volkswagen faces a number of other lawsuits around the globe. And in addition to compensating consumers, it has paid out billions to compensate for the environmental damage caused by the scandal.
Among other things, the carmaker is spending a decade investing $2 billion in building electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the United States.
VW, like many automakers, is also vowing to produce electric vehicles in large numbers in the years ahead.