On January 10, 2019, Bosch resolved pending civil litigation with U.S. consumers and used car dealers, as well as investigations by 50 U.S. states and territories into Bosch by entering into two sets of settlement agreements.
Settlement 1: Agreement with U.S. plaintiffs regarding Fiat Chrysler
Together with Fiat Chrysler, Bosch reached agreement with U.S. civil plaintiffs to resolve pending class action litigation against Bosch and Fiat Chrysler concerning Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles sold in the United States. The settlement agreement was concluded with the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (“PSC”) on behalf of a proposed settlement class. The respective documents were filed on January 10 with the competent court, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and will require that court’s approval.
The agreement settles the claims of U.S. consumers and used car dealers against Robert Bosch GmbH, its affiliates, employees and management concerning approximately 100,000 Fiat Chrysler diesel Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles from model years 2014 to 2016. The agreement also settles claims against Fiat Chrysler. Bosch supplied engine control units for these vehicles. Fiat Chrysler will pay for most of the settlement. Bosch will contribute up to USD 27.5 million.
The settlement agreement requires the approval of Judge Edward Chen, who conducts the nationwide multi-district proceedings in which all pending private lawsuits against Bosch concerning these vehicles have been combined. The Court will hold a hearing on January 23 to consider preliminary approval of the settlement notice, after which the class members will be informed of their rights and options. A hearing to consider final approval of the settlement is anticipated by early May 2019.
Settlement 2: Agreement with U.S. states regarding Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen
The settlement reached with 50 U.S. states and territories will terminate the participating U.S. states’ investigations of Bosch related to Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles sold in the U.S.
The settlement, which will be implemented state-by-state, will release Robert Bosch GmbH, its respective affiliates, employees, directors and officers as well as the management, from all potential current and future claims under the state laws named in the agreement with regard to Bosch’s supply of engine control units and software for Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles.
For this purpose, Bosch will pay as settlement different amounts to each state as agreed with all 50 of the jurisdictions. A total of approximately USD 98 million will be paid to the participating U.S. states. The settlement amount will be distributed among the participating states based primarily on the number of vehicles registered in each state. Additional USD 5 million will also be paid to the National Association of Attorneys General.
In the determination of the settlement with the U.S. states, Bosch’s robust compliance systems as well as its full cooperation during the investigations were positively taken into account. Since 2016 the already existing extensive compliance policies and procedures have been substantially enhanced. The maintenance of these is part of the agreement.
By entering into the settlements, Bosch does not accept liability, nor does Bosch admit to the factual allegations of the U.S. plaintiffs or U.S. states.
The settlements reflect Bosch’s desire to move forward and to spare the company the very substantial costs and the burden on the company’s resources that would be required to litigate these issues. “Upon careful consideration of all relevant aspects, we have decided to enter into settlement agreements. Legal disputes would have resulted in lengthy and costly proceedings in numerous U.S. states and with a large number of different claimants. As an innovation leader, we want to devote our attention and resources to developing our businesses and to intensifying our efforts to shape the future in our areas of activity,” stated Dr. Stefan Hartung, Member of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH and Chairman of the Business Sector Mobility Solutions.
Bosch will continue to defend its interests in all other civil and criminal law proceedings and to cooperate comprehensively with the investigating authorities in Germany and in other countries.