By on March 30, 2017

2015 Volkswagen Golf family, Image: Volkswagen of America

If you’ve felt left out of the Volkswagen diesel affair until now, chin up. You’ll soon be able to purchase your very own piece of automotive scandal history.

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the sale of 2015 Volkswagen Group vehicles equipped with Generation 3 2.0-liter diesel engines, making this the first time any of the half-million-plus sidelined vehicles have been legally available to customers since the scandal began.

The contrarian’s list of unlikely daily drivers just grew a bit longer.

“We are still finalizing the details of this program and will provide more information on its implementation at the appropriate time,” Volkswagen of America spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan told Bloomberg. VW dealers apparently received EPA approval to resume sales yesterday.

Don’t expect to see lineups outside your local VW dealer. As the stop-sale order came down in mid-September of 2015, only about 12,000 units remain in the automaker’s U.S. inventory. That’s out of a total of about 67,000 model year 2015 vehicles shipped with Generation 3 powerplants.

Impacted by this news are 2015 Beetle, Golf, Golf Sportwagen, Jetta and Passat models, as well as TDI versions of the Audi A3.

Back in January, the EPA and California Air Resources Board both approved a fix for the newest 2.0-liter engines. To lower excess nitrogen oxide emissions, VW would offer a two-part repair. The first, a software update, was made available shortly after the announcement, while a more involved hardware fix is expected by the beginning of next year. The larger fix involves a further software update, as well as “a new diesel particulate filter, diesel oxidation catalyst, and NOx catalyst, all needed to maintain vehicle reliability and emissions performance over time,” the EPA said in January.

Any vehicle sold by VW dealers will have already had the first fix, and will require the second. But will the vehicles be the same high-mileage, high-torque little beats that American buyers fell in love with all those years ago? Reports out of Europe should have would-be buyers worried. (Not to mention owners who opted out of the buyout.)

Across the Atlantic, owners of 1.6 and 2.0-liter VW diesels have reported shuddering, stalls and a reduction in both fuel economy and low-end torque after receiving their prescribed fix. The complaints aren’t just anecdotal, either. Power tests performed by a Swedish magazine reveal newly emissions-compliant 2.0-liter TDI vehicles do suffer from lowered performance. However, the models tested were older TDI vehicles. The EPA has not approved a fix for pre-2015 diesel models in the U.S.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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30 Comments on “Get Ready to Line Up for a 2015 Volkswagen TDI!...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    What about the 2016s stranded in port?

    • 0 avatar
      KevinC

      Pretty sure there never were any 2016’s – those were 2015’s that were “stranded”.

      Sure glad we switched gears and opted for the buyout for our ’15 Golf TDI. Originally my girl wanted to keep it as she absolutely loves that car and it has been perfect for the 2.5 years we’ve had it. But then she changed her mind and decided to move on a couple of months ago, and now has a new Mazda3 to replace it. After many delays due to the change to buyback, she finally now has her appointment to dump it on 4/20. Good riddance, unfortunately.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        The initial notices from CARB and EPA were issued in September 2015, so ’16 would have been the models denied certification by EPA to force VW’s hand.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Real shame.
    Great cars.

    Couldnt VW have gone and bought offsets and planted trees and leave the TDIs on the road?

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      IIRC, offsets are only for CO2 emissions. The VW diesels also spew more particulates and NOx.

      • 0 avatar
        loopy55

        Actually the facts are that the TDI’s output low levels of CO2 relative to other cars. That’s why diesels (sensibly) get a pass in Europe for NOx levels as they see the threat of global warming as greater than slightly elevated levels of NOx.
        Complaints about the ‘fix’ seem unfounded. Please check out the TDI forums. 2015 owners who have taken the fix are almost universally positive about it’s affect.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    I mean can these be “tuned” like the big trucks? Might be worth it if you don’t have emissions testing…

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    I wonder if these cars have any potential wear/tear from sitting for almost two years? My former car, an ’08 Mazda3, sat on a dealer’s lot for almost a full year because it was stupidly overpriced and it had already some dry-rotting starting on its tires. Granted, they were Goodyear RS/As – one of the worst tires I’ve ever experience BAR NONE. But still.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yeah, but nothing out of the ordinary. Gunk in the paint, flat-spotted tires, musty interiors.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        Hopefully VW is offering some sort of Hyundai warranty on the 2015 models. I wouldn’t personally touch one but you know people will snap them up.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Only the True Believers will snap them up, and most of the True Believers opted for the buyback.

          To me, these cars are radioactive, and the resale will be terrible.

          • 0 avatar
            Acd

            This may push me towards taking the buy back on my 2013 if I can replace it with a low mileage 2015. I’ve been holding off because I can’t find anything to replace it that will deliver similar fuel economy, comfort, room and driving experience.

            As far as future resale is concerned I think there will be a market for these cars and prices should remain relatively high because so many of the 2009-2014’s will have been taken off the road.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheatridger

          Offer a ten-year powertrain warranty and a $5K discount off original list, and I might be interested. I could drive happily with only 40 mpg and 100 HP, all the way until VW offers another generous buyout to escape those warranty obligations. Deal?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My 02 Passat (ironically) sat for about 9 months before I bought it. It needed 4 new brake rotors in the first week because they had rusted so badly, and then warped upon first use.

      I’d be wary of other things, too, like wipers, unevenly sun-cooked paint, pest nests, dry seals in the engine and transmission, dry CV boots, unexercised bushings and shocks, dead battery, and bad fuel.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      My ’08 Saab 9-3SC had been sitting around for 18 months when I bought it in ’09. 60 miles on it. Nobody wanted a white on white stickshift wagon without seat heat in Boston – go figure. For $14K+ off *I* wanted it! I think the only related issue is that it got a new battery under warranty when it was less than 3 years old.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I’ve bought 3 lot queens in my life that sat for more than a year. The common issue they all had was the battery was done by the third year of ownership, which was about four years total. My Lancer just refused to start one day and the Mazda just began misbehaving, weird indications and weak starting. Both Mazda and Mitsubishi replaced the batteries under warranty..

  • avatar
    Ianw33

    Not gonna lie, if the deal is good enough, i could be tempted…

    • 0 avatar
      Malforus

      Seriously, at the right price the performance hit is excusable.

      • 0 avatar
        Ianw33

        and, lets be honest…..we would probably tune it, negating any of the performance loss

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          You can CERTAINLY tune it, right back to where it started, and then some.

          I don’t drive enough anymore to be interested in a diesel when my GTI gets an easy 35mpg, but I still like them a lot. My first new car was an ’02 Golf TDI, and even on that antediluvian beast, one of the first things I did was electronically turn off the EGR system. This eliminated an issue with intake manifold clogging on those cars, but certainly did the emissions no favors at all.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    How do they plan to compel people in no-inspection states to come in for the second round of castration?

  • avatar

    In related news, you guys should see Manheim Market values and auction transactions for these 2.0 liter TDI cars. Its absurd. It’s very obvious that every other dealer out there has figured out what I did 9 months ago.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Firesale price and a full warranty could really get my attention for a Golf. I could party like it’s 2004 all over again.

  • avatar
    NoviceAmateur

    The author is missing a key point.

    European TDI engines which have been recalled belong to EA189 family.

    US spec ones, deemed as compliant by the EPA after the fix, belong to EA288 family. The latter is the latest incarnation of the TDI family and has had a major rework in catalysts (oxidizing and reducer) and in the particulate filter.

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