FILE PHOTO - A U.S. flag flutters in the wind above a Volkswagen dealership in Carlsbad
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board on Friday announced approval of a fix for about 84,000 older Volkswagen diesel vehicles that can emit excess emissions.
Volkswagen, the world's largest automaker, agreed last year to offer to buy back up to 475,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles that had been sold in the United States or offer fixes if regulators approved.
Friday's announcement covers a fix for 84,390 2012-2014 Passat diesel vehicles with automatic transmissions. A fix for vehicles with manual transmissions has not yet been approved.
In January, regulators approved a fix for 67,000 2015 model diesels, leaving around 325,000 older vehicles still awaiting approval for a fix.
Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said the automaker is pleased that it has received regulatory approval for the fixes.
California Air Resources Board executive officer Richard Corey said the approval "is another important step in efforts to repair the environmental harm caused by these vehicles."
EPA confirmed its approval in a letter posted on its website on Friday.
Until regulators approved a fix in January, VW had been barred by authorities from selling 12,000 new 2015 diesel Golf, Beetle and Passat cars after the German automaker admitted to using secret software to exceed emission limits for six years.
In April, VW resumed selling those 2015 diesel cars in the United States and said they accounted for nearly 12 percent of its April sales.
Earlier this month, Volkswagen also began selling some of the 2015 diesel models it had repurchased, but the company has not yet disclosed how many of those vehicles it has sold.
Volkswagen has bought back or terminated leases on around 280,000 vehicles.
Volkswagen has agreed to spend up to $25 billion to address claims from U.S. owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers, and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles, including some 3.0 liter vehicles.
On Wednesday, a federal judge issued a written order granting final approval for Volkswagen AG to fix or buy back 80,000 larger 3.0-liter diesel Porsche, Audi and VW vehicles in the United States.
Volkswagen has agreed to buy back 20,000 2009-2012 diesel vehicles and plans to fix 58,000 newer ones if regulators approve. The settlement could be worth $1.2 billion if all older models are repurchased.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Phil Berlowitz)