German carmaker Volkswagen has reached a settlement in negotiations to compensate US owners of diesel cars equipped with software designed to cheat emissions testing, German newspaper Welt reported late Wednesday.

A VW spokesman refused to comment.

The reported agreement with US authorities comes ahead of a Thursday deadline for VW to offer a plan to modify about 580,000 vehicles sold in the United States, set by a federal court in San Francisco that is hearing hundreds of lawsuits against the carmaker from across the country.

Under the reported agreement, VW would pay every owner of an affected car 5,000 dollars. The company also would bear the cost of repairs to bring the cars into compliance with US air pollution standards.

The agreement was described as an outline, but does not yet contain details such as technical descriptions of how repairs are to be made.

VW admitted in September that it had cheated on exhaust emission tests around the world in cars with diesel engines.

VW's powerful six-member management committee is due to meet Thursday, with the US settlement on their agenda, along with a possible plan to end a dispute over the payment of bonuses for the company's top executives.

Based in the northern German city of Wolfsburg, VW is facing the mounting costs of lawsuits, official investigations, recalls and vehicle modifications, as well as a fall in sales around the world in the wake of the revelations about the diesel emissions affair.

Thursday's management committee meeting is likely to help lay the groundwork for a full meeting of VW's 20-member supervisory board on Friday, which could involve executives finally agreeing to a 30-per-cent cut in bonuses.

The company is facing the launch this month of tough negotiations with union leaders calling for a pact to ensure job protection.

VW indicated in November that it is planning cuts in its workforce, after having announced moves to cap 2016 investment spending at 12 billion euros (14 billion dollars) - a cut of 1 billion euros from recent years.

The German state of Lower Saxony, one of VW's major shareholders, has joined the board's union representative in calling for bonuses to be scrapped.

Next week the company will formally unveil its 2015 annual results, which are likely to reveal the impact of the emissions crisis on the carmaker's earnings.

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