Volkswagen's Diesel Cars Have Been Sitting At U.S. Ports For Months

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
volkswagen s diesel cars have been sitting at u s ports for months

Back in July, TTAC reader Stephen told us that his recently ordered 2016 Audi A3 TDI was sitting at port for an unknown reason and his dealer and Audi couldn’t give him much of a reason why.

“(The cars) are being held at the port as they have not been cleared by Quality and Logistics to be released for port processing yet,” a distribution advocate for Audi wrote in July.

As weeks wore on, Stephen alerted us to the varied responses he received from Audi, which ranged from “quality review” to “government certification.” We reached out to Audi on his behalf and heard from a spokesman that the cars were sitting at port awaiting a certificate of compliance from the Environmental Protection Agency, despite being identical to 2015 models that had already been certified.

A spokeswoman for the EPA said the government could withhold any car from entering the U.S. if there were any problems with emissions.

“If EPA finds issues with emissions on any vehicle, we would take action,” the spokeswoman wrote in August. ” … it can and sometimes does happen if a manufacturer has shipped a car that does not yet have a valid COC. As we mentioned above, it is illegal to enter cars into commerce before they have a valid COC. If this were a domestic manufacturer they would just keep the cars on their property and delay shipping them to dealers.”

We talked with representatives from Audi in August and they didn’t indicate any issue with the cars. An official with the EPA didn’t say that the diesel cars were being held for specified problems. Users at VWVortex reported that some (but not all) of their Jetta TDI models were being held at port for quality checks.

We reached out to Audi on Friday and to the EPA on Monday to see if the July holds were related to recent news that investigators uncovered “defeat devices” on the diesel cars that would allow the cars to cheat and pass emission tests.

(Note to readers: We received the note from a reader in July and decided not to pursue the story after discussing with other manufacturers normal wait times at U.S. ports. Some reported that cars could sit at ports for months. Nothing from the EPA indicated the extraordinary circumstances that VW cars are currently in.)

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  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on Sep 21, 2015

    I imagine VW dealers will have a bone to pick with VAG concerning floor plan they're paying on vehicles they are not allowed to sell. Fines, class action suits, damaged goodwill... time for some Foxconn-grade suicide nets in Wolfsburg.

  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Sep 21, 2015

    Wonder if it'll get to the Merkel - Obama level. I'm sure there's plenty of backroom maneuvers available.

    • RideHeight RideHeight on Sep 21, 2015

      Lighten up on the "refugees", Angela, and I'll see what I can do.

  • TheMrFreeze Wife and I bought just bought new (to us) daily drivers...both have manual transmissions and neither has any kind of "new" safety nanny technology in it. By choice. That's how we roll.
  • IanGTCS Where I live safety inspections are only required when transferring ownership except between spouses. The ministry or police can in theory pull unsafe vehicles off the road but I haven't heard of that happening. Commercial vehicles over a certain weight required annual inspections and I've seen unsafe ones removed from the road a few times. I'm honestly fine with no regular inspections. A ball joint or bearing can go from fine to goodbye wheel in less time than a year anyways. Can't say I see too many total wrecks driving around so it would be kind of pointless.
  • IH_Fever No. I'd rather that money be spent to enforce vehicle laws on an as needed basis. The 10 year old car with a check engine light on for some sensor is a danger to no one. The crapbox with 5 different color body panels, paper tags and saran wrapped windows is more of a concern.
  • Xidex I will have to say, I do not like Camaro's especially the latest ones, but that is one sweet looking car !
  • SCE to AUX Say, when's that goofy rotary range extender coming to the US for the lame MX-30 EV?Not gonna happen, but at least I can get a pricey paint job on a CX-5.