DETROIT -- Volkswagen Group asked a federal judge in California to dismiss some claims in a suit filed by the U.S. government over diesel vehicles rigged to cheat pollution controls.
The government sued VW in January, accusing the automaker of installing illegal devices to defeat emissions controls on almost 600,000 Volkswagen and Porsche models with 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter engines in the U.S.
The U.S. claims over 3.0-liter engines, covering about 85,000 vehicles, are "inconsistent" and lacking facts to support that "any of the VW defendants knew about any defeat devices in 3.0-liter subject vehicles," VW said in court papers Monday.
Dismissal of these claims wouldn't affect the current "settlement agreement in principle" over almost 500,000 vehicles with 2.0-liter engines reached with consumers and government agencies, the company said. It also wouldn't impede settlement negotiations over the 3.0-liter engines, VW said.
The company asked U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco to dismiss the claims "without prejudice," meaning they could be brought again later. Breyer has given VW a June 21 deadline to come up with a plan for getting the polluting vehicles fixed or off the road. Any action on the VW motion to dismiss won't thwart reaching that deadline, the company said.
Wyn Hornbuckle, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment on the filing.
The Justice Department lawsuit followed hundreds of complaints filed as class, or group, actions by consumers alleging fraud or violation of consumer protection laws. Those suits, along with government's case, have been combined before Breyer. On Wednesday, the judge delayed until May 24 a status conference in the case that had been set for Thursday.
The preliminary accord with U.S. authorities includes a fund for remediation and has been agreed to by state and federal regulators. The plan to be presented to the San Francisco judge next month will include some buybacks.