Volkswagen Hasn't Started the Process to Resume U.S. Diesel Sales; Germany Readies a Big Fine

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen hasnt started the process to resume u s diesel sales germany readies a

With no approved U.S. diesel fix in its grasp, Volkswagen hasn’t even bothered asking the Environmental Protection Agency for permission to resume selling its maligned TDI models, Automotive News reports.

Sales of all new and certified pre-owned TDIs were frozen last September after the diesel emissions scandal became public. Even after agreeing to a $15.3 billion U.S. settlement last month, it looks like the models will cool their heels for months to come.

An EPA spokesperson told Automotive News that Volkswagen needs “to address our concerns” before they can apply for approval to resume sales.

The first buybacks of the roughly 475,000 sidelined Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter TDI models are expected this fall. Owners can request a fix to keep their vehicle on the road, though pre-2015 models will be harder to bring into compliance with environmental laws.

When the EPA hammer came down, U.S. dealers were left with scores of unsold 2015 and 2016 TDI models that have collected dust for the past 10 months. If the company can gain regulatory approval for a fix, dealers can begin repairing them and (hopefully) moving them off the lot.

The problem for dealers is that the process is slow — any fix will be scrutinized and tested like never before, and more delays are possible from that process. Last week, a European consumer group claimed that a 2.0-liter Audi Q5 TDI tested after its software-related fix was actually dirtier than before. European Union and EPA emissions rules differ, but designing an easy U.S. fix for even the newest 2.0-liter diesels could be a challenge.

As it pays the price for its scandal in North America, the financial pain is just getting started overseas. Volkswagen escaped a multi-billion-dollar buyback program on the Continent, but prosecutors want to levy huge fines against the automaker.

According to Reuters, investigators in Braunschweig, Germany want to fine the company based on the profits it made from selling 11 million defeat device-equipped diesels between 2009 and 2015.

“We cannot pay heed to what VW may have to pay in other countries when we go about setting the fine,” a spokesman in the prosecutor’s office told Reuters. “We cannot say: ‘VW is already requested to pay a lot in the U.S., so let’s not be so strict.’ That’s not possible.”

The German fine could run into the hundreds of millions of euros. Meanwhile, today South Korea announced it will ban sales of several Volkswagen models. The country launched an investigation that could see over 100,000 vehicles recalled, as well as fines imposed on the automaker.

[Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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2 of 36 comments
  • Philadlj Philadlj on Jul 12, 2016

    Last week we were told a U.S.-style diesel deal in Europe "just isn’t possible" because it would "overwhelm" VW. If that's truly the case, shouldn't VW simply go bankrupt, so that everyone they cheated in the same way gets the same deal? Otherwise, aren't they kinda getting away with this scandal? I guess they have to weigh justice for the wronged owners with the effect a bankrupt VW would have on the Euro economy. "zu gross um zu scheitern"...

  • Whatnext Whatnext on Jul 12, 2016

    Did Canada also issue a stop sale order? My local dealer has new 2015 TDIs listed for sale, but no 2016s.

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  • 28-Cars-Later Another: How does Stellantis plan to leverage the EV experience of PSA and Opel (?) against the former FCA operation?