Volkswagen TDI Owners to Automaker: 'Nah, We'll Take the Moolah'

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen tdi owners to automaker nah we ll take the moolah

Faced with the option of waiting to see if their cars can be fixed or accepting a hefty cash payout, diesel Volkswagen owners are opting to take the money and run.

Once-fierce loyalty to the dirty “clean diesels” seems to have evaporated, as most owners who’ve registered for the settlement want the automaker to buy back their car, Automotive News reports.

About 475,000 2009–2016 2.0-liter Volkswagen diesel models in the U.S. are affected by the ongoing emissions scandal. As part of a settlement reached in June, owners can opt for a buyback or have their vehicle fixed at no cost, while accepting a cash payment of $5,100.

The problem with the fix route is no actual, approved fix exists — at least, not yet. Bringing the polluting vehicles into compliance would require modifications as well as a software update, and could leave the vehicles underpowered and thirsty. There’s also the chance that they’ll still be dirty.

It’s no wonder that owners are choosing to grab Volkswagen’s cash with both hands. According to the report, about 210,000 owners and lessees have so far registered for the settlement, just under half of the total tally.

That’s fine for the automaker, as the settlement requires the company to remove 85 percent of the affected vehicles from the road.

The number of owners enrolled in the buyback program was confirmed by lead plaintiff’s attorney Elizabeth Cabraser. She stated that some owners could change their minds on the buyback if government regulators approve a fix for the 2.0-liter models.

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

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  • Brettc Brettc on Aug 31, 2016

    I'm taking my $22K and most likely *not* buying another VW, unless they give me a sweet deal on a GTI or a new Golf wagon. My biggest turn off with the new Golf models is the fact that they now have red turn signals, not amber like my 2012. If I want amber signals I have to spend $1000 to get euro tail lights and recode them, etc. What a stupid decision (maybe even dumber than rigging emissions). I'll likely take my money and buy a 2017 C-Max on the used market when they become available in late 2017 or early 2018 as the 2017 C-Max is finally getting LED DRLs and projector headlights. Most Ford products (especially the Euro sourced models) have amber turn signals, and they're not VWs. So that's good enough for me.

    • See 1 previous
    • Trucky McTruckface Trucky McTruckface on Aug 31, 2016

      @HotPotato My guess is it's all about cost. Cheaper lenses, cheaper bulbs. If they can dumb down the taillights into a single combination incandescent bulb, even better. And VW's activities in recent years have shown just how shamelessly cheap they are. This is nothing new, either. Ford infamously decontented the hell out of their cars in '97-'98 and one of the most obvious changes was the deletion of amber turn signals from most models, even on the ancient Aerostar for its final model year.

  • CentralMassDad CentralMassDad on Aug 31, 2016

    I think there is a little selection bias in the numbers, so I'm not sure if these numbers really reveal "lack of confidence in the company" etc. I have a Jetta Sportwagen TDI, which I love. It might be my favorite car that I have ever had. Averages around 39-40mpg, even fully loaded, and is plenty powerful for me. I like the gas mileage because I drive it a ton, and I think eventually gas will be pricey again. Also, I like the wagon part, because. So that leaves me torn. Someone is offering to give me more than the car is worth, but I cannot replace it with anything that does what it does. TDI forums are filled with people pooh-poohing the effeciency--plenty of gas cars can get that mileage. But I don't want a Honda Civic sedan. It turns out to be hard to find something that is big enough for a family, efficient, and comfortable. Never mind all that plus a 6-speed manual transmission. So for the moment I am hanging back to determine whether there is actually a fix, and if so, what bad things it does, before deciding. I suppose that others who are considering keeping their cars are doing the same. Meanwhile, the entire cohort that wants out of the car ASAP registered right away. So the majority of people registering are those who want the buyback.

  • Jimal Jimal on Aug 31, 2016

    As of the last time my wife and I discussed what to do with her 2013 Passat TDI, we decided to take the smaller payout and keep the car, for a couple reasons. 1. If you're going to get your money's worth out of one of these cars, you have to run it into the ground. Like 200,000 - 300,000 miles. Resale was of little concern to us for this reason. 2. I've seen little to indicate VW is going to be able to come up with a workable solution to fix these cars. So either we get the smaller payoff and have to make no changes to the car, or sometime down the road VW and the regulators concede that there won't be a fix, and drop it... or offer a secondary buyout. Either way, we'll use the payout - when it gets here - to help pay off the 2009 Pontiac G8 GT I picked up last week, early.

  • Mike-NB Mike-NB on Sep 02, 2016

    Meanwhile, north of the border in Canada there is ... nothing. The VW site posts links to the US information but any settlement talks are under a publication ban so we Canadian TDI owners can only look at our US cousins with envy.