Volkswagen is Buying Back Dirty Diesels, But Not From Owners

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
volkswagen is buying back dirty diesels but not from owners

Volkswagen Group of America has begun the process of buying back cars affected by the ongoing diesel emissions scandal, but you shouldn’t expect to receive a letter or phone call with a buyback offer anytime soon.

VW is going ahead with a buyback program that will see the automaker acquire affected vehicles from dealers’ certified pre-owned (CPO) inventories, a source familiar with the plan told TTAC.

Based on information provided by the source, it appears VW is buying back affected first-generation “clean diesel” TDI vehicles with lean NOx traps (LNTs) and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), and not vehicles equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems that rely on a urea-based solution to reduce NOx emissions.

The first generation of VW’s “clean diesel” vehicles used a version of the EA189 2-liter diesel engine that did not rely on diesel exhaust fluid, or AdBlue. Later models switched from the LNT/EGR system to the more costly SCR system that requires AdBlue.

It’s widely believed first-generation EA189 vehicles can not be fixed without significant modifications that include the addition of an SCR system. Those vehicles could cost the automaker as much as $2,500 in parts alone to retrofit. Later, second-generation EA189 vehicles are already equipped with SCR systems and are likely to be fixed instead of bought back by VW.

According to the source, there’s currently no plan for VW to acquire affected new vehicles from dealer inventories.

Requests for comment were not immediately returned by VW by time of publication.

[Photo: Flickr/Rob Brewer]

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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Feb 06, 2016

    My comments about just bagging the emissions system notwithstanding.... I looked for new car. When gas was over $4 and approaching $5 in the NYMA, I needed to cut my gas costs with my 30k year driving. There were a lot of worthy choices at my price point and credit. I bought the VW TDi because it claimed 40 mpg and still drove like a real car. I'd had two A1 VW diesels, so I knew the old smoky clattery cars...and knew what I was getting into. The new cars were NOTHING like the old ones. I believed the clean diesel. I read the documents about the pollution system, the VW training documents on the web, and many many forum posts by owners. I did, indeed, think I was getting a clean car. Now, if I was really eco crunchy, I'd have gotten rid of my two stroke jetski years ago, but I'm not. Still, when Yamaha sold the Superjet in 1996, it met whatever standards there were. VW claimed the 2012 TDi passed didn't. I'm out of the game as the TDi is gone, but yes, I felt lied to. I'd probably not buy another VW, as I wasn't thrilled with the construction quality. This is a downside of learn too much :)

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Feb 07, 2016

    Caveat Emptor is the lesson to be learned from VW. Let VW do their own thing. "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." If VW doesn't want to make things right with the final consumer its their business but then the consumer should be forewarned and if the consumer still chooses a VW then that is their business. I personally believe VW should do something for their customers but legally they are not required to do so. Much harder and more expensive to get a customer back than to retain them. True the dealers are VW's customers but without the retail customers there are no dealers.

  • ReallyDoubt ReallyDoubt on Feb 08, 2016

    The only good news here is that VW makes Exxon look positively benevolent in their response to the Valdez spill. The Exxon response has long been touted as the poster child of how NOT to respond to a crisis, any crisis! It looks like VW is going to give Exxon some serious competition.