Consider this the big payback.
On Monday, Volkswagen announced that it will be offering $500 Visa debit cards, which can be spent on anything, and a $500 dealership credit to affected United States owners of 482,000 of its faulty diesel cars involved in its emissions scandal.
According to USA Today, the embattled automaker will also offer customers three years of free roadside assistance as part of its way to apologize and give back to affected owners. In addition, Audi owners whose cars were affected by the scandal will receive the same offer of the $500 gift card, dealership credit and three years of free roadside assistance.
Affected VW owners interested in accepting the offer can visit VWDieselInfo.com to begin the process. They'll then receive their "goodwill package" within four weeks.
According to VW, vehicles included in the offer are: the four-cylinder diesel versions of the 2009-15 Jetta TDI, 2009-14 VW Jetta SportWagen TDI, 2010-15 VW Golf TDI, 2015 VW Golf SportWagen TDI, 2012-15 VW Beetle TDI and VW Beetle Convertible TDI and the 2012-15 VW Passat TDI. Owners of the 2009-15 diesel Audi A3 are also eligible to receive the offer.
Accepting Volkswagen's offer wouldn't prohibit affected owners from participating in a possible class-action lawsuit seeking further compensation, company spokesperson Jeannine Ginivan confirmed to USA Today.
"There are no stipulations," she said.
This comes after Volkswagen announced last month that it aims to start making 11 million faulty diesel vehicles comply with emissions laws in January, before completing the massive recall in late 2016. Some of the affected vehicles will need their manipulated software updated, while others will require new parts as part of the recall, which will cost at least $6.5 billion.
"We are working tirelessly to develop an approved remedy for affected vehicles," Volkswagen U.S. CEO Michael Horn said in a statement, as reported by USA Today. "In the meantime, we are providing this goodwill package as a first step towards regaining our customers' trust."
It remains to be seen whether affected U.S. owners will view a $500 gift card and $500 dealership credit as a slap in the face or a respectable offer as part of VW's reputation-revival efforts.
Those who feel the former might be obliged to accept the package and go forward with a class-action lawsuit regardless. The $6.5 billion projection in recall costs could skyrocket in total damages with possible regulatory fines by countries and whatever lawsuits could be issued.