Report: Volkswagen Readying To Buy Back Some of Its Cars

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Thursday that Volkswagen was preparing to buy back about one-fifth of its cheating diesel cars in the U.S., according to Reuters.

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.

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  • C P C P on Jan 08, 2016

    How do you set up a car so it knows when it's being tested. Only emissions testing I've ever done involves a meter shoved up the exhaust pipe. A computer can be programmed to know this how?

    • Bumpy ii Bumpy ii on Jan 08, 2016

      In VW's case, they programmed the ECU with an algorithm which used various sensors (throttle, wheel speed, accelerometers, etc.) to recognize when the car was driving the EPA test cycle and turn on the emissions equipment for the duration of the test.

  • Tylanner Tylanner on Jan 08, 2016

    This is the only sensible option for a company that intends to exist and thrive after this calamity. TDI as a brand is dead and anything they can do to get them off the road is good for them.

  • Jasper2 Jasper2 on Jan 08, 2016

    VW will survive. VW will remain in North America. But it will not be in my lifetime that their reputation is solid again. Hope this doesn't impact their other family brands. My only question is: how on earth did they think they would get away with this sham? The whole affair is very sad for everyone including VW employees, their customers, the German auto industry, the EPA, etc.

  • Hybridkiller Hybridkiller on Jan 08, 2016

    "That would mean about 115,000 cars — likely older models..." Looks to me like somebody drew the wrong conclusion here - the Reuters piece seems to say the opposite: "Volkswagen expects that the rest of the vehicles will need major refits, incurring significant costs for parts and a long stay at the garage as parts of the exhaust must be reconstructed and approved, the newspaper reported." "...the rest of the vehicles..." meaning the remaining 465,000 (or whatever) affected cars are the ones needing more extensive mods - IOW, the OLDER ones. "...the company expected it would have to either refund the purchase price of a fifth of the diesel vehicles affected or offer a new car at a significant discount." Sounds like they're talking about the 115,000 NEWEST cars - not the oldest/older ones.