Porsche $80M Settlement: Owners Allege Fake Emissions and Economy Numbers

Volkswagen Group, the parent company of Porsche, has agreed to an $80 million settlement today. The class-action lawsuit alleges that Porsche cheated on its U.S. emissions and fuel economy numbers. Over 500,000 Porsche vehicles built and sold between 2005 and 2020 had the bogus numbers. The approval of the settlement is pending in federal court. The lawsuit was originally filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, California.  

What were the charges filed against Porsche?

From left to right, a red 2017 Porsche 991.2 911 Targa 4 GTS, red Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, and silver Carrera 4 GTS
Left to right: 2017 Porsche 991.2 911 Targa 4 GTS, Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, and Carrera 4 GTS | Porsche

Porsche owners in the U.S. said the automaker rigged test vehicles which altered emissions and fuel economy outcomes. According to Automotive News, settlement amounts awarded to owners will be between $250 and $1,109 per car.

This all began after the feds began investigating the Volkswagen Group over its “Dieselgate” emissions scandal in 2015. More eyes focused on all of VW’s car businesses, including Porsche. The scandal involved software baked into emissions systems that when tested changed diesel engine operation. Over 11 million diesel vehicles had the cheat software. 

In the U.S., VW plead guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice, and falsifying its statements. It agreed to pay $20 billion, along with having to round up its diesel models. But Porsche’s cheat was different.

How was the Porsche cheating discovered?

A red 2017 Porsche 991.2 911 Targa 4 GTS on a German road
2017 Porsche 991.2 911 Targa 4 GTS | Porsche

The feds were first made aware of the issue by an internal Porsche whistleblower. In at least one gas-powered vehicle, the installation of a defeat device might be altering emissions numbers. Porsche made its findings available to German and U.S. regulators, which prompted the class-action lawsuit. 

Test vehicles used different gears in the driveline than what factory vehicles had. Then, it manipulated the software as well. The result was fewer emissions and better fuel economy ratings. The estimate for how much less the economy numbers were is around two miles per gallon of gas.

But there’s more. Owners of cars with the Sport+ mode must have repairs made and software updated. This will make these cars emissions compliant. Then, owners will receive an additional $250 to cover expenses and time.  

Have other VW brands paid out fines?

The rear 3/4 view of a red 2015 Porsche 991.1 911 Carrera GTS driving down a canyon road
2015 Porsche 991.1 911 Carrera GTS rear 3/4 | Porsche

Audi, another brand under the VW umbrella, had also tampered with its software back in June 2018. It agreed to an $850,000,000 settlement also involving its diesel engines, in Europe. 

And VW had already been ordered to pay several billion dollars over dieselgate. In all, VW is estimated to have paid over $28 billion. This was to buy back hundreds of thousands of cars, to pay owners, and regulators, both here and in Europe. And VW executives there during this time have had several cases filed against them. 

So to say it has been costly to the VW Group is an understatement. And this doesn’t even take in the damaged reputation it received over the lawsuits and negative publicity. However, good products and time will erase some of the resentment car buyers have for VW.

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