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VW Still Considering a Buy-Back of About 50,000 Vehicles


According to various news outlets, including the New York Times, Volkswagen is considering buying back thousands of vehicles in the U.S. because of the diesel-emissions scandal.

Last September, the company admitted to having installed “defeat devices” on its diesel vehicles, to pass environmental emissions tests without compromising acceleration and fuel economy. Since then, there has been much debate about how the company should remedy the situation for consumers.

VW is still working on a way to recall and fix the vehicles. Their first plan was recently rejected by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which stated the plan lacked sufficient detail, particularly in how the repairs may affect vehicle performance.

Now it seems that CARB was right to question the company. According to a statement made during a recent court hearing by a VW lawyer, the German automaker is considering a buy-back on certain vehicles because VW lacks the ability to make the cars compliant with U.S. emissions standards without compromising performance and fuel economy—the very things that customers bought the vehicles for in the first place.

VW May Not Be Able to Repair Vehicles and Maintain Performance

VW advertised these diesel vehicles as being environmentally friendly and high performance—a combination that appealed to U.S. consumers. When the emissions scandal broke, it became clear that the automaker had not been forthcoming in their marketing materials.

The vehicles only passed emissions testing, because of software installed that turned on certain systems during the test, and then turned then off during normal driving operation. Independent testing revealed that when these systems were turned off, the vehicles spewed toxic nitric oxide, sometimes at 40 times the legal levels.

So far, VW hasn’t found a way to fix the problem that will satisfy regulators and consumers. They have already started repairs in Europe, where air quality standards are less stringent, but such repairs in the U.S. would likely reduce performance and fuel quality, which would likely result in more lawsuits and lost resale value.

About 50,000 Vehicles May be Eligible for Eventual Buy-Back

Reuters was among the first to report that VW was considering a buy-back, at the beginning of January 2016. Reuters noted that in a German newspaper, the company stated they expected they would have to either refund the purchase price of about a fifth of the diesel vehicles affected in the U.S., or offer a new replacement vehicle at a significant discount.

It sounds like the vehicles the company is referring to are the older 2.0-litre diesel engines, which would cost more and take longer to bring into compliance than some of the more recent models. Whereas the newer vehicles may be repaired with reprogrammed engine software, the older ones could require a more extensive reconstruction of parts of the exhaust system.

According to Bloomberg, VW was expecting about 50,000 vehicles to be affected by this issue, out of over 500,000 that need to be fixed.

U.S. Congressmen have been encouraging VW to offer a buy-back to those consumers who want it for months now. Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Edward Markey (MA) stated in letter to the company that owners who no longer wanted their cars should be able to sell them back to VW at the “fair market value that existed prior to the time at which Volkswagen’s fraudulent activity was made public.”

The Times notes that the statement made by the VW lawyer in court was the most recent indication that the company “may not have the technology to bring emissions for some of the cars into line with regulations without hurting performance and economy.”


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  1. craig says:
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    Nuts to the EPA and it’s ridiculous emission regulations. A car that gets 45 mph does not pollute anything worthy of fixing. Close down the EPA and jail Obama

  2. Ryan says:
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    Craig, if you don’t like regulations and breathing clean air then move to Somalia. The VW executives are refusing to forego their bonuses while cutting the workforce and screwing the shareholders. VW deserves the corporate death penalty. I hope Obama and the CEPA hold VWs feet to the fire.