By on January 7, 2016


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.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

22 Comments on “Report: Volkswagen Readying To Buy Back Some of Its Cars...”

  • avatar

    Can owners decline the buyback, what if (hypothetically (because I assume a few of those cars have already been traded back in to VW dealers)), about 90% of those owners refuse the offer?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      As a practical matter, yes, but with the possibility that your state might not renew the registration on it. Also keep in mind that the subject TDIs were illegally imported into the US (because VW filed false paperwork), so they are potentially subject to seizure and destruction.

    • 0 avatar

      Anyone not willing to part with their VW for the full purchase price (save for maybe a handful of heavily modified super-TDIs) do not deserve any reparations(edit) or special treatment thereafter. Simple.

  • avatar

    What About Bob?

    I mean, What About Bosch?

    Someone needs to do an expose’ on Bosch (the company that designed the cheat program for VW and maybe some other manufacturers), which is now metaphorically shrugging its shoulders and proclaiming “[d]on’t loo, at me, brah,’I don’t know nothing about this.”

    *I guarantee VW is going to apply max pressure to Bosch (maybe cross-complaint in the future and/or subrogation/indemnification) and that regulators and the DOJ are looking into Bosch’s role into this fiasco\'(one would hope).

    • 0 avatar

      Bosch has already been on record as warning VW about the software issues back in 2007 and VW ignored them.

      Bosch helped program the emissions routine which was then modified by VW to be used outside of it’s intended purpose and was warned. It’s not Bosch that will be held responsible, it’s all VW and as many engineers as the board can scapegoat.

  • avatar

    These would probably be the 2009-2010 Jettas, and the Jetta Sportwagens. Actually, cars before 2015 that have an Independent Rear Suspension are probably unfixable because there is no room to mount anything.

    Cars that have the solid rear axle are “fixable” by virtue of the fact there is available real estate within the car, but nonetheless will require lots of work. Oh, the horrors…

  • avatar

    I gotta think if VW went this route it would do so w a enhanced trade in so at least they would get some much need sales in the pipeline, not sure which cars would be involved, maybe the earlier years of folks who bought them new and still have them, I can not see buying a 09 a year ago for 10K and vw buying it back for 20 k.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Not sure the trade in works. VW will have to fixthese cars or take them off the road. They can say “your car is no longer able to be registered so here is a check for full purchase price” (a pretty sweet deal if we are talking 2010 cars purchased new) easier then saying “we installed shady software in your car that makes it unable to be registered, but come on down and we will make you a screaming dealnon a new Passat”. Umm, yeah, think I’ll roll the dice on something equipped with a quad 4 instead.

  • avatar

    Buy them back, to resell them into developing and third world nations where they don’t care for profit.

    Good business.

  • avatar

    I am all for buy-backs but I am skeptical about refunding (?) the full purchase price. That makes no sense.

    I guess VW is trying to offer those gen 1 owners an offer they cannot refuse thereby neutralizing potential lawsuits for forcing them to trade-in their Noxwagons.

    But why not swap them out to a new(er) similar vehicle? They could use the “sales”.

    Something isn’t adding up here. Maybe when the details come out it will all make sense.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I have been saying from the start that VW is going to have to treat this like the mother of all lemon-law buybacks. It sounds like that reality is starting to sink in at headquarters.

    Unfortunately for VW, they have not jumped way out ahead of this thing, but keep playing small and trying to get away with doing the least possible. In this case, that is the wrong instinct.

  • avatar
    C P

    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?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      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.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    “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.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • ToolGuy: Cost of July 4 cookout last year was down 16 cents. This year it’s up 17 per-cents. So by my...
  • 28-Cars-Later: “I strongly suspect the medium duty cutaways (4500+) will remain gas or diesel powered”...
  • TheEndlessEnigma: I love the “only scum and suckers buy sedans” arrogance. Well done dal20402.
  • Secret Hi5: Nothing about “corporate overlords?” Hmm…
  • IBx1: Who does ferrari think they are?

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber