By on April 21, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (1 of 8)

Note: In light of today’s news regarding an agreement between Volkswagen and U.S. regulators, we believe it’s pertinent to rerun this piece considering Volkswagen still plans on fixing some of the affected 2.0-liter TDI vehicles. —MS

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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18 Comments on “Here’s What It Might Cost To Fix Each 2.0 TDI Volkswagen...”


  • avatar
    seth1065

    I am guessing VW will have to fix some cars as some people will not want / or be able to give VW their car so if a fix is offer some will take it. I am sure VW does not want this and would rather give you a deal to get you into a different VW.

  • avatar
    bkojote

    1. Are they buying back the cars at full price when new, or buying them based on Blue Book Value?

    2. What if the fix is unacceptable?

    3. What happens if you own a car that’s not ‘economical’ to fix and want to keep driving it? Are you basically stuck with “We’re paying you $7,000.00 for your car + $5,000.00 for your trouble, get bent.” ?

    • 0 avatar
      MrGrieves

      My understanding is KBB value pre-Dieselgate, so think September 2015 value.

      Anyone who has a 2.0 with the LNT and agrees to a “fix” needs to have their head examined.

      If you have the slightest interest in parting with your TDI, this buyback plan is the best deal you could hope for. If you want to keep driving the car the way it is, don’t expect any kind of settlement, class-action or otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      BKojete,
      My understanding is what they were worth pre scandal , so the KBB way. I do not think you will be able to keep driving it as it is, maybe if you are in a non test state maybe, but I doubt you will get anything from VW, you only get the cash ( as I understand it) if you sell to them or let them fix your car. I think if you owned a say 09 golf TDI base model and it is worth say 7,000 grand as a trade in, your choices would be trade it in and get the $7,000 + $5,000 for pain and suffering so 12,000 to find your self a new or newish car or you say you want to keep you 09 golf fix it VW, they fix it and you live with what ever the fix is , less power , less MPG and VW gives you 5K for pain and suffering. Some people will get the fix as I stated above because they will want to keep their car, do not want to deal with a different used car or do not want to lay out additional money to get them into a brand new car.
      What this really does is get the person out of their TDI if they need a bigger car, or do not need a high MPG car for what ever reason,( job change), they can trade in their car and get what a dealer would have given them before VW got caught.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Some states might not care if you don’t fix it. In California, you probably won’t be able to renew your biennial registration – similar to failing a smog check.

  • avatar
    George B

    It appears that Volkswagen would save money by making the retrofit as undesirable as possible for Jetta TDI owners to reduce the take rate while dragging this out to let the market value of the cars depreciate. Negotiate a “solution” with clueless EPA employees that would correct NOx emissions if applied, but passive aggressively play up all the negative consequences so no Jetta TDI owner would ever want to have the work done.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      It wouldn’t be a remedy if they paid current market values. The values paid out would be what they were prior to the whole news scandal.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Kyree,
        I think they agreed pre scandal for the buyout , not sure what VW dealers use when they detrime what your car is worth KBB maybe, but most TDI’s went for a greater $$ amount in private sales vs dealer ( as most cars do but TDI esp)Curious how many will turn in their car and walk away. I will be on the fence myself with mine.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    I’m definitely going for the buyback. I have a 2013 Jetta Sedan with about 60K and it’s had a multitude of problems. Great mileage, drives fantastic, comfortable seats (for me)… but it’s time to move on.

    Plus I’m tired of having to fight dump trucks and brodozers for the diesel pump.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    What happens to the cars that are bought back? Resold in a country without such strict emissions requirements?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Well, I was trying to read this article on my phone, but then my gay best friend—who was standing behind me—saw an ad at the bottom of the article for “Budgy Smugglers”…and so commandeered my phone to click said ad, whose link was full of scantily-clad men.

    So my response is a little late.

    This whole thing, in general, seems kind of fuzzy. As far as the buyback, what about people who have negative equity in their TDI cars? Unless the debt is fully erased, no one wants to turn in a car, then still make payments on it…and still have to find a new car.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      Nothing has been clearly communicated, and the judge has basically put a gag order on the proceedings as they flesh out the rest of the finer points. The gist of what has been leaked or spoken of in court was that it would be a pre-scandal FMV buyback + additional cash. They used the term “generous compensation”. So if you’re upside down on the loan then then extra cash will hopefully set you back into the positive numbers, or at least break even. Which would still piss me off if I were one of those “negative equity” types.

    • 0 avatar
      Delta9A1

      I really don’t want to know where they put the smuggled the budgy’s ….

  • avatar
    th009

    If that’s $2500 based on VW parts department MSRP, then the actual (parts) cost to Volkswagen corporate will bear little resemblance to that total.

  • avatar

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    Over 20 years of experience. Factory trained.
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    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Gee, there are only something like 249 area codes in North America, so I’m glad to see that your spammy post with its seven-digit phone number is likely to be completely ineffective.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    I’m surprised nobody discusses “who does the work” – the real world effect of the huge amount of time it will take to fix all these cars. How is anybody seriously considering getting any other VW/Audi, a GTi or Golf R for example, ever going to be able to get in to get service/warranty work? Do people just assume “it won’t happen to me”?

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Are these cars equipped with transmissions compatible with 2.0t gas engines? What’s an engine swap cost in labor and parts? (at wholesale of course).


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