By on September 25, 2015

"Vehicles are piled on top of each other in rows as they wait to be pulverized and shredded for recycling at Rifkin Scrap Iron and Metal Co. on North Niagara in Saginaw , Mich. on Friday, July 31, 2009.  Far more drivers signed up for the "cash for clunkers" program than anyone thought, overwhelming showrooms, blowing through the initial $1 billion set aside by Congress and leaving dealers panicked over when or if the government would make good on the hefty rebates." (AP Photo/The Saginaw News, Chris Fryer)

Justin Hyde at Yahoo Autos has fine, fine reporting that U.S. taxpayers paid more than $20 million in incentives for Volkswagen diesel models under the “Cash for Clunkers” program.

According to the report, 4,599 VW Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen diesel cars qualified for the maximum $4,500 incentive under the program. Those cars were equipped with a 2-liter turbocharged diesel engine that the Environmental Protection Agency said used an illegal defeat device to cheat emissions.

The Yahoo report follows a report by the L.A. Times that shows that more than $51 million was paid to Volkswagen by the U.S. for now-bogus “green” claims.

The 2009 “Cash for Clunkers” program, which offered $3 billion in incentives for new, more fuel-efficient cars, has consistently been under fire as critics have attacked the program’s efficacy and necessity to pull the economy out of its recession.

If substantiated, Volkswagen could be on the hook for some, all or more of that $70 million in total incentives because it’s clear that the feds are really mad this time.

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64 Comments on “Report: Taxpayers Paid $20.7 Million For ‘Clunker’ Volkswagen Diesels...”


  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Sad Monte Carlo.

    • 0 avatar
      jrmason

      Honestly that’s where those generation Montes/Luminas belong. I can’t tell you how many electrical gremlins i chased on those POS’s. Not to mention intake gaskets, door hinges, window regulators and tracks, etc. Unibody and control arms were notorious for turning into swiss cheese around here too.

      • 0 avatar
        Demetri

        I had one for a year. Two bad fuel injectors, busted turn signal switch, bad wheel bearings, and a window regulator all within a year. And even when it was running normally it sucked in pretty much every way. There isn’t one thing those cars do better than a Camry of the same vintage except maybe trunk space.

        • 0 avatar
          jrmason

          How could I forget wheel bearings.

          Then again, that’s a typical GM trademark.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Its typical for Toyotas to need new wheel bearings too, you need a full new hub when you replace them.

          Otherwise theres little reason to but a Lumina Carlo, only basic features and I dont think you could get GMs legendary 3800 with either.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            You most certainly could get a 3800. The Lumina LTZ had it standard, and Ive seen them in Montes from the same era. The Monte SS had the supercharged ones later I believe.

          • 0 avatar
            Demetri

            You could get the 3800 in the last couple years of those cars. At the time though, you could get a V6 Camry or Solara with a 5-speed stick, rated at the same HP (in the Solara). The supercharged 3800 didn’t come until the Impala derived model. Mine was the glorious 3100 though, a V6 making 160hp that somehow felt way slower than 4-banger midsizers rated at 10-30hp less.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I trust ye old 3800 even with less hp, they dont leak oil out the seals like some of Toyotas engines. Just make sure the plastic intake junks been sorted.

            Imo only until recently Japans specialty was smaller engines, their V6’s were hit or miss for some time, Honda in particular.

    • 0 avatar

      If you miss it so much, I have its exact twin for $1995.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I hate those Montes. Didn’t deserve to wear the name, and should have just been a Lumina Coupe.

      The MC and those made after had the worst sorts of “I’m so awesome and love NASCAR” type drivers. They’re the older and more rural version of those who currently inhabit the Veloster.

      I’m almost surprised Cadillac didn’t move the Eldorado/ETC to this platform after it died in 2002. It’s still large enough (same size?) and can take a V8, as evidenced by the ending version SS with the LT.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I can’t see why VW should be on the hook for the C4C money. The benefits under that program were conditioned solely on MPG ratings, which the cars meet both in test and real world mode. Compare this to the tax credits that were issued to “alternative fuel cars” on the premise of these being “clean diesels”.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Oh yay, another VW article.

    • 0 avatar
      WhiskeyRiver

      I’ll stir it up a bit then. For years the Pope rode in a VW.

      Adding religion to the subject should fix the boredom.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Thats actually interesting, shame it won’t make it into an article though. TTAC has an agenda and theyre going to push it! VW must shame itself!

        This is like GM Deathwatch, but with less entertainment and worse headlines.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Awww poor VW. Its not their fault they illegally sold half a million diesel cars (just in the US) that cheated on their emissions tests intentionally, all while spending untold millions in advertising telling us about their “clean diesel technology”.

          TTCA is just picking on poor helpless VW. I just might cry, what an injustice for a website that focuses on the auto industry to publish articles related to the auto industry! Must be some fanatical crazy sinister agenda to tell us what happened!

          I think we should take up a collection so we can send VW a fruit basket. Here’s my dollar.
          What? You cant see it? TTCA’S EVIL AGENDA STRIKES AGAIN!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            If this were an “American” automaker, and especially Ford, you’d say it’s a minor problem and that they are being unfairly targeted and arbitrarily punished.

            And you think 1990 era Ford Tauruses were superior to 1990 era Toyota Camrys.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At DW:

            That boys got issues if you’ve seen his other responses to me. I dont like what VWs done, but unless if you’re actually shopping VWs (or own one), I dont see a reason to fluster up.

            I was considering a newer VW, a gas-driven Golf wagon, hopefully by the time I have the dough VW will have its act cleaned up.

      • 0 avatar
        namesakeone

        If the Pope rode in a Volkswagen, did it trail white smoke or black smoke?

  • avatar
    brentrn

    C4C ran of only a few months in 2009 for cars that got less than 18 mpg. The engines in question were not even sold until the end of 2009. VW had no diesels for sale after the end of the MKV models with the 1.9 BRM diesel. I don’t see how any of the common rail diesels of 2009 that are under questions could have been part of the program.

  • avatar

    We are in a massive welfare circle jerk. The taxpayers bare the burden of everything.

    The Fed can’t even raise interest rates – less they prick the bubbles they’ve inflated.

    This VW nonsense… people are still driving the cars. The word HASN’T ENDED.

    Do these idiots think we live in a fish bowl? Do they realize the atmosphere has no clearly defined edge?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      btsr, this is what the voters in America voted for. This is what the majority in America wanted. Not just once. But twice.

      I believe this is one of the reasons why the labor participation rate in America is somewhere around 62%, meaning 38% of the eligible workforce is not working, not contributing, not paying taxes.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Claw

        @highdesertcat – I suppose you might be alluding to the fail of the first decade of the Aughts, which is well documented. Although the notion of the people having voted for the outcome Americans received on the first term is still highly dubious.

        I suppose you prefer taxes to be wasted on wars whose justification was a very obvious lie. Among other destructive things.

        Some cars that were lied about seem almost inconsequential in comparison. At least this appears to be a case where a multinational corporation is going to have to pay a piper *COUGH AIG COUGH* *COUGH GOLDMAN SACHS COUGH*

        But sure, let’s blame the poor people whose “welfare” drags us down. After all, they are the ones who programmed those cars to cheat the feds.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The Earth is an approximation of a closed thermodynamic system, meaning mass cannot be transferred out (except for a few descent stages, LRVs, flags, and golf balls we left on the moon, everything launched has or will come back). Any emissions released into the atmosphere will stay in the atmosphere or go somewhere else on Earth.

      http://www.scienceclarified.com/everyday/Real-Life-Biology-Vol-3-Earth-Science-Vol-1/Earth-Systems-How-it-works.html

      • 0 avatar

        “The Earth is an approximation of a closed thermodynamic system, meaning mass cannot be transferred out (except for a few descent stages, LRVs, flags, and golf balls we left on the moon, everything launched has or will come back). Any emissions released into the atmosphere will stay in the atmosphere or go somewhere else on Earth.”

        WRONG

        Earth IS NOT A CLOSED SYSTEM BY ANY MEANS.

        FULL CAPS.

        MASS is a collection of matter (atoms) and can be changed into gas/liquid/solid/plasma and heat. Heat itself can leave this atmosphere. It can be re-radiated out.

        GAS CAN TOO.

        The atmosphere has no clearly defined edge.

        Nor will it ever.

        I DARE SOMEONE to CLAIM I’M WRONG.

        I PITY DA FOOL.

        You people just can’t think in the multi-dimensions I can.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Why do you never provide any sources for your claims? Please explain how mass is converted to energy (heat) outside of an atomic explosion. Please also explain how gas (matter) is exchanged through radiation (a transfer of pure energy).

          Nobody ever said the universe has a clearly defined edge, because that’s correct, it doesn’t. But that was never in question.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I think he’s saying that gas can leave the atmosphere, not that it can radiate its mass.

            Radioactive decay converts mass to energy. There’s a lot of that going on underground. Also nuclear power plants.

            But as far as mass is concerned, it seems to me the earth is practically a closed system.

          • 0 avatar

            “mass is concerned, it seems to me the earth is practically a closed system.”

            But it’s not.

            Why do people assume that matter can’t get off of the surface of the earth because of gravity ???

            If a rock can be melted…and that rock weighed one Ton… and the gas can leave the atmosphere that used to be that rock how can anyone assume that the earth is a closed system???

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> Why do you never provide any sources for your claims?

            I’ll help our CAPS loving friend out a bit. Here’s an article discussing the subject:

            http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16787636

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_escape

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Obviously, those articles are not wrong, but they deal with the loss of H2 and He, not CO2. CO2 and other heavier gases are too heavy to be lost.

            “The gravitational attraction of Earth’s mass prevents other non-thermal loss processes from appreciably depleting the atmosphere. Yet Earth’s atmosphere is two orders of magnitude less dense than that of Venus at the surface. Because of the temperature regime of Earth, CO2 and H2O are sequestered in the hydrosphere and lithosphere. H2O vapor is sequestered as liquid H2O in oceans, greatly decreasing the atmospheric density. With liquid water running over the surface of Earth, CO2 can be drawn down from the atmosphere and sequestered in sedimentary rocks. Some estimates indicate that nearly all carbon on Earth is contained in sedimentary rocks, with the atmospheric portion being approximately 1/250,000 of Earth’s CO2 reservoir. If both of the reservoirs were released to the atmosphere, Earth’s atmosphere would be even denser than Venus’s atmosphere. Therefore, the dominant “loss” mechanism of Earth’s atmosphere is not escape to space, but sequestration.”

            (And my earlier comment was supposed to say “atmosphere” where it says “universe”. Don’t know how that slipped through.)

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          THE CREATIONIST HAS SPOKEN OR SPOKETH!

          ON THE 8TH DAY THE LORD PROCLAIMED btr IS THE PROVIDER OF TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY!

        • 0 avatar
          Louis XVI

          I was going to dismiss BTSR’s post as the ravings of a crazy person, but his use of caps has convinced me of his wisdom.

        • 0 avatar
          jdogma

          Mass can not be changed to heat except by nuclear reactions. Nuclear reactions don’t happen with enough frequency above the earth’s crust and in the atmosphere to count for much. “The atmosphere has no clearly defined edge.” – so what? We know how much the mass of the atmosphere is. 14.7 lb/sq inch of the earth’s surface, which is 196,900,000 miles. It has not changed in our lifetimes, so it does not lose (or gain)gas in significant amounts. Your point that VW’s emissions cheat means nothing is absolutely correct. No need to muddy it up with extraneous and questionable statements. One only has to compare the impact and frequency of volcanic activity to these emissions to get an idea of how meaningless it is. I wish people would spend a few minutes on calculations before getting worked up about insignificant things. It is so easy!

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            “Do the Earth’s volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities? Research findings indicate that the answer to this frequently asked question is a clear and unequivocal, “No.” Human activities, responsible for a projected 35 billion metric tons (gigatons) of CO2 emissions in 2010 (Friedlingstein et al., 2010), release an amount of CO2 that dwarfs the annual CO2 emissions of all the world’s degassing subaerial and submarine volcanoes (Gerlach, 2011).”

            http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/climate.php

        • 0 avatar
          SunnyvaleCA

          >>> Why do people assume that matter can’t get off of the surface of the earth because of gravity ???
          <<<

          Big Truck, check out wikipedia: "Earth is too large to lose a significant proportion of its atmosphere through Jeans escape. The current rate of loss is about three kilograms (3 kg) of hydrogen and 50 grams (50 g) of helium per second."

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_escape#cite_note-Catling2009-1

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Forget it, he’s thinking “in the multi-dimensions.”

          • 0 avatar

            Drzhivago

            DO I BELIEVE FOR ONE SECOND that these “scientists” measured all of the CO2 released underwater int he ocean trenches, volcanic hotspots and other parts of the Earth no one is/can measure?

            NO. I . DON’T.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            They don’t have to measure every last source, just like you don’t have to count all the leaves on a tree to know how many are on it. It’s called extrapolation, and it’s a part of science.

            If you’re going to accuse the USGS of being unscientific, feel free to provide your own source of quantifiable data.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      >The Fed can’t even raise interest rates – less they prick the bubbles they’ve inflated.<

      The bubbles would be collateral damage of a rate increase sufficient to halt the inflation they have to pretend isn't happening. The real problem is debt maintenance. As long as rates are low, nobody is paying attention to the fed printing money to make up for bonds that can't be sold for negative returns.

      When rates go up, people will want the bonds needed to fund the 40% of federal government spending that is pure Keynesian sabotage. Thanks to debt that far outstrips our GDP and imbeciles who halt any spending cuts under the rationalization that they're not big enough to matter, and what is big enough to matter is sacrosanct; debt maintenance will bump up against total tax receipts shortly after rates start to increase.

      The economy will contract at the same time the government has to finally pay for its spending. Perceived needs for government spending will increase as the economy contracts. The result will be the collapse of the government or the collapse of the dollar. People driving 'cheap Leafs' and patting themselves on the back for letting their neighbors pay for solar panels on their million dollar homes won't accept their share of responsibility, but they'll finally pay for their duplicity. All we need to hit the final stage of John Maynard Keynes' grand design is some undeniable inflation, which a large minimum wage increase guarantees. Cloward-Piven will prove a winning strategy, but what do its soldiers hope to win?

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        I like your post but it is premised that interest rates will eventually go up. By up I mean in a significant way, close to the standard 5.5% “typical”interest rate. I suspect they rate may rise .25% next year but we will never see “normal” rates again. We are closing in on 10 years or ZIRP and for close to 9.5 years people are saying “interest rates have to go up” They won’t, the Gov will not be able to service the debt at normal rates. The Fed hasn’t painted themselves into a corner, they have bricked themselves into a corner, no way out.

        I don’t think interest rates will ever go up to any where near normal. We are looking at the Feds new normal..

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Raising the minimum wage by 100% will probably accomplish the same thing. More people on the dole and higher prices won’t be sustainable. Social security benefits will have to increase even if interest doesn’t. Nobody will buy zero interest rate bonds when inflation is high and obvious. The gap between tax receipts and expenditures will still explode. Oil will stop trading in US dollars and we’ll be post-civilization.

  • avatar
    raph

    Oh man I wonder what will pop up on my FB feed from the concerned VW fan about this. Already I’ve seen a crop of owner testimonials about how they aren’t sure about these “claims” being made about how VW “might” have cheated the EPA’s mandated tests but they sure are glad to tell me how their Volkswagen saved their lives in a bad accident even if they pollute more.

    I’m undecided if its actually an earnest if misguided attempt by VW fans at damage control or an actual back channel attempt by VW to change opinion on the matter.

  • avatar
    redav

    As noted above, C4C was about fuel economy & oil consumption only. Emissions don’t factor into that.

    But what about the cars traded in? Old cars don’t meet modern emissions requirements. Were those cars worse than these VWs?

    I agree with the implied accusation that TTAC published ‘another VW article’ just to pile on another angle on today’s hot topic and generate traffic. I don’t see this as newsworthy. I don’t see it as “truth.”

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      MPG vs. Emissions. Aren’t they sorta the same thing?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Old cars (meaning, I dunno, 1985 or older) don’t always meet modern emissions reqs, but that’s usually not considered a problem because statistically, there are a lot less of them being driven on the road every single day, whereas when you’ve got X million John and Jane Q. Publics commuting in their Camrys, Accords, etc., it starts to become a big deal.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      RIGHT! Except for the fact that the cars were illegaly modified by their manufacturer, so they shouldnt have been sold in the first place. Lets just ignore that and pretend its all okay because of all the MILLIONS of 1972 LTDs out there polluting right now! Anything to deflect from VWs intentional breaking of the law.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Aaron, I know you’re groping for the most insulting headlines possible, because what else is this site for? But simple logic puts the lie to this one. The “clunkers” involved in the program were the old cars being traded in and scrapped, not the new cars being subsidized.

    I know, I know– what do facts have to do with a snappy headline?

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      This sites main purpose seems to be talking about VW, how VW goofed up, why they goofed up, how they were goofing up, how they will goof up.

      Seems like Aaron has a chip against VW, or hes trying to milk the haterade.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Seems like your main purpose is that this site should ignore VWs problems because you like VW.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Claw

          I believe you can like VW (full disclosure: I do) and hate what they did (I do), and still be tired of the dogpile (hint: I am).

          Not all car enthusiasts are jingoists.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          If it were Toyota or Buick Id have the same attitude, this whole thing says more about current online journalism than VW.

          You never did say why you hate VW so much, did one nick your Taurus?

          I thought car enthusiasm was about enjoying cars, not stalking people and raging against a company you have no stake in.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I know get all these dirty TDI’s off the road and give everyone who was duped a Hellcat , I am shocked VW did not try to woo BTR as their new CEO, he knows all.


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