By on November 26, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (1 of 8)

Editor’s note: This article originally ran September 22, 2015. TTAC has yet to be proven or disproven on these numbers, but hopefully we will learn the truth soon.

In all reality, Volkswagen probably won’t pay $37,500 for each car that cheated its way through U.S. emissions standards, but the German automaker will probably pay thousands for each car to fit a device that would clean up their acts.

The presumed fix would come by retrofitting a Selective Catalytic Reduction (Adblue or urea) system although that wouldn’t be the only fix necessary. Researchers discovered that the Passat TDI that they tested, fitted with the SCR system, was 5 to 20 times over the NO limit — less than the 10 to 40 times by the lean NO filter cars, but still illegal.

The long list of items needed to fit models of the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 doesn’t include the engineering needed to retrofit the cars and the costs to crash test the models after the significant modifications. That’ll add hundreds of millions to the bottom line.

Our own Bozi Tatarevic provided his preliminary list of additions (retail prices) that would be needed for each car based on the systems included in the Passat TDI — which still didn’t pass:

• Cooler ($361)
• Aftertreatment Fuel Tank ($534)
• Dosing Valve ($240)
• DPFE ($105)
• Temperature Sensor ($171)
• EGR ($401)
• Catalyst ($688)
Total = $2,500

Bozi points out that the urea tank most likely couldn’t be installed into the rear trunks due to the corrosive nature of the fluid. The secondary tanks would likely need to be installed under the car, next to a smaller, also-replaced, fuel tank. That would be an additional cost to Volkswagen (hundreds of dollars for each car) and further necessitate all new safety ratings.

The parts costs don’t take into account the hours of labor, which for a Jetta is 6-7 hours to change the diesel particulate filter alone. Such a substantial retrofit on their cars could take dozens of hours, incurring thousands in labor costs that Volkswagen would have to reimburse its dealers for. Labor rates, typically ~$100/hour, would likely be less for Volkswagen and the automaker would only reimburse dealers for the completion time detailed in the recall order.

Any sort of recall repair work and would need to be weighed against the cost for VW to buy back its own cars, which for a 2009 Jetta TDI, starts at about $7,000.

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12 Comments on “Giving Thanks: Here’s What It Might Cost To Fix Each 2.0 TDI Volkswagen...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    How is this apropos of “Giving Thanks”?

    Do you mean those of us who would never buy a VW (except for the Caddy!) should be thankful for our attitude because it renders this recent kerfuffle irrelevant?

  • avatar

    The scale of this clustercuss continues to astound me.

  • avatar

    At least people in the U.S. receive 1000 USD in coupons… In Europe it seems we get nothing. Although class action suits are already in the making.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    The other thing seldom mentioned so far, which this article reminded me of, was the lack of service that will occur at each dealer, if you bought a gas powered VW/Audi, due to the massive amount of time allocated to fixing each diesel. Is the discount worth it/enough….

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Since Volkswagen doesn’t pay retail for its own parts, I’d expect the parts tally to total maybe $1000.

    Labor could be maybe another $1200-1500, so the total might be $2500 each.

    That works out to $1.2 billion to repair the US cars. Crushing some of the older ones, and reimbursing owners would be even more costly. And then come the lawsuits.

    Say, does anyone know what the Tacoma rusty frame replacement program has cost Toyota? That’s been handled rather quietly, but this years-long program has cost Toyota something like $6000-9000 per truck. I still see flatbeds of Tacoma frames appearing at my local dealer. A friend and a family member have each had this work done, and it takes 1-2 months.

    Edit: this article (if I do the math) indicates that the Toyota frame repair (never recalled) may have cost them around $7 billion. And they’ve had a parade of other expensive repairs as well:
    http://blog.caranddriver.com/690000-toyota-tacomas-recalled-for-leaf-springs-that-could-snap-damage-fuel-tank-and-brake-line/

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      Thanks for the link SCE! This is the first I’ve ever heard of a widespread rust problem. I have worked on a couple and noticed they seemed rusty for their age, however, owners took these on the beach so it made sense.

      Would you say it is as bad as the Wrangler? There is a shop near me who specializes, and earns a1 killing, on Wrangler rust repair.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I can’t speak to the Wrangler’s rust issues, but if you’re aware of a local shop who specializes in repairing that specific problem, there must be something there. FCA products have never been known for their rust resistance.

        Personally, I think road salt is the devil. But I also think it’s incumbent upon car owners to keep it off their undercarriages as much as possible.

        As for Toyota, I find it interesting they’re replacing up to 800,000 truck frames without even a recall. I have a friend whose Sienna transmission failed out of warranty; Toyota replaced it without question. They effectively bought a returning customer. I believe they are doing the same thing with the truck rust situation – keeping themselves out of court while keeping customers in the Toyota fold.

        Most companies (for any product) just stiff-arm you after the warranty, leaving you to shop for a new mfr. Volkswagen has an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade if they overwhelm their customers with loving affection, but that wouldn’t be very German of them.

  • avatar
    Jasper2

    VW should not leave fixing the diesel vehicles up to the dealers who will be overwhelmed. VW should set up special retro-fit shops, with specifically trained technicians, strategically located, to do the work.

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