That would mean about 115,000 cars — likely older models that would need significant work to bring emissions into compliance — could be taken off the road in an historic buyback. According to the report, the cars would be bought back by the automaker for their purchase price or by significantly discounting a new model for those owners.
In filing a lawsuit against the automaker Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signaled that it may be at a standstill with the automaker in how to fix its cars, which could be prompting Volkswagen to consider the buy back.
In the lawsuit, the EPA alleges more than 580,000 cars are illegally cheating and asks a judge to consider fines that could be as high as $48 billion. While Volkswagen’s fine may not reach the theoretical maximum of well over $40 billion, Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the automaker may be bracing for a bigger hit than initially expected.
The report from the German daily newspaper didn’t specifically cite any sources from within Volkswagen. The automaker did not immediately comment on the report.
Separately, the German newspaper reported that roughly 50 employees have come forward so far as part of the automaker’s amnesty program to admit some participation in Volkswagen’s cheating scheme.