Source: VW to offer gift cards to diesel owners

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DETROIT (AP) — Volkswagen, in an effort to appease owners of small diesel-powered cars involved in an emissions cheating scandal, plans to offer them $1,000 in gift cards and vouchers, according to a dealer familiar with the plans.

The offers would be a gesture of goodwill to 482,000 owners of cars whose 2-liter four-cylinder diesel engines have been implicated in the growing scandal, according to the dealer. The offer could be announced to dealers on Monday and made public later in the day.

A spokesman at VW's U.S. headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, wouldn't comment Monday.

According to the dealer, owners would get a $500 Visa debit card to spend on anything they wish and a $500 voucher for oil changes, service or merchandise from dealers. The dealer didn't want to be identified because details of the program haven't been announced.

VW has admitted that four-cylinder diesels from the 2009 to 2015 model years have software that turns on pollution controls during government tests and shuts them off on the road. The company says about 11 million cars worldwide have the software.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the cars can emit 10 to 40 times the legal limits for harmful nitrogen oxide, which helps to produce unhealthy ozone.

The offers would be made as VW works on a fix and recall that would bring the cars back within U.S. emissions standards. That could wind up hurting performance or perhaps fuel mileage, the two main reasons why people buy the diesels.

It's unclear whether owners would have to agree to arbitration or not to sue the company over the emissions mess. More than 200 class-action lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. against VW alleging that the scandal caused the diesel cars to drop in value.

Volkswagen already is offering $2,000 to current VW owners to trade in their cars for new vehicles, and the gift cards and vouchers would add $1,000 to that, the dealer said.

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