Meeting Advertised Mileage Could Save Volkswagen Money

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
meeting advertised mileage could save volkswagen money

Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn told a congressional committee Thursday that the fixed diesel cars would achieve the fuel economy figures advertised on the cars when they were purchased as new.

“We know we can fix these vehicles to achieve emissions standards,” Horn said.

Horn said that performance such as horsepower and torque for the cars could be impacted, but by keeping those cars at or above advertised mileage, the carmaker could mitigate damage brought by forthcoming class-action and federal lawsuits.

Horn said the cars, which were fitted with illegal defeat devices beginning in 2009, would need a wide range of fixes to bring into compliance those cars. Newer cars would need a software update, older cars could need a combination of hardware and software fixes.

Horn said newer cars could be fixed as soon as early 2016. Older cars could take several years to fix.

Rick Wynkoop, a Denver lawyer whose practice specializes in automotive cases — specifically Lemon Law — said Volkswagen delivering advertised mileage would be a good offensive move for the automaker as it looks to keep a flood of class-action cases at bay.

“Would it mitigate damages? Certainly, if there are damages at all,” he said.

Wynkoop said he does not represent any Volkswagen owners in pending cases against the automaker.

He said quantifying damages for owners whose cars have been fixed and still deliver advertised mileage could be difficult. If a fix reduced mileage, it would be a simple calculation to determine real damage. For example, if the fix reduced fuel efficiency from 45 mpg to 40 mpg, the owner could claim real damage based on mileage.

It would be the same for resale value as well, which may be hard if the market for used Volkswagen diesels are all over the place. Any dip in power and performance would qualify as damage, but would be harder to quantify monetarily, Wynkoop said.

Wynkoop added that pending Volkswagen lawsuits could target non-economic damages, which could range from adverse health effects to psychological damage.

The early lawsuits against Volkswagen covered a wide range of territory, he said, from fraud to breach of contract and consumer protection.

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  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Oct 09, 2015

    My guess is that mileage might not matter a damn if the only practical way to engineer a fix that passes muster will yield a vehicle which can barely get out of its own way. (Those with Westmoreland Wolfsburg Edition memories may lift their middle-digit to The People's Car and line up at the Toyota dealer (or even the Chevy dealer, if the price is reasonable). On the subject of Prii: are there TRD pieces available for the "regular" 4-door HB? I'd be interested just to see the effect of mounting wheels which will aid all-around handling of a Prius, on its mpgs. (I've had my doors blown off by a Prius once whilst I was set at a solid 80mph, so I know they can likely hit a buck-ten.)

  • George B George B on Oct 10, 2015

    1) Volkswagen will pay huge fines. 2) The marketing value of "Clean Diesel" is gone. 3) More engineering resources with be applied to achieving certification of new not yet sold TDI cars than retrofitting old cars. 4) Most TDI owners in the non-CARB states will choose not to "upgrade" the emission control systems of their cars. If OBDII says "good", the CEL isn't on, and the car runs well, why would they make it run worse?

  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
  • Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...