By on April 22, 2017

2015 Volkswagen Golf family, Image: Volkswagen of America

April has brought good news to diesel lovers and haters on both sides of the border.

After spending the winter (and the better part of last fall) jealously eyeing their southern neighbor’s buyback and compensation program, Canadian owners can now apply for that longed-for envelope of Volkswagen cash, as well as a one-way-ticket to hell for their emissions-rigged TDI model.

On Friday, the automaker settled court cases in Ontario and Quebec, paving the way for a 2.0-liter diesel settlement program that starts next week. The models involved are the same as in the U.S. — 105,000 units in all — and owners and lessees face similar choices as their American counterparts.

Unlike the recent shadowy roll-out of half-fixed 2015 models in the U.S., several Canadian dealers are proudly advertising the availability of “new” TDIs.

It’s not surprising that Canadians bought more TDIs on a per capita basis than the U.S. Gasoline taxes are higher than in the U.S. (and only going up), and Canadians have long gravitated towards smaller vehicles. A store manager told me back in 2011 that, if it was allowed, his dealership would make 50 percent of its inventory diesels — and would sell every one of them.

In hindsight, it’s probably best that he didn’t get his wish.

Those who did buy the fuel-sipping, pollution-spewing diesels are now faced with a choice. Owners can sell or trade in their vehicle, terminate their lease without a penalty, or keep the vehicle and receive an emissions modification that has been approved by regulators (coupled with an extended emissions warranty). Right now, the only approved fix is a two-phase modification, impacting only 2015 models with second-generation engines.

Buyback pricing will use the vehicle’s wholesale value as of September 18, 2015, with tweaks made for options and mileage. If an owner chooses to trade their filthy diesel in for a squeaky clean new model, the old vehicle’s fair market pricing can be applied to the price of a new vehicle. (The difference between the fair market pricing and the vehicle’s September 18, 2015 wholesale value will be handed over in the form of cash.)

Owners can begin filing claims, in paper or online, on April 28.

“We are devoting significant resources and personnel to ensuring their experience with the settlement program is a positive one,” said Maria Stenstroem, Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen Group Canada, in a statement.

The fix that allows 2015 TDIs to remain on the road — and become legal for sale — already has dealers in the U.S. attempting to clear the models from their inventory. Now, Canada has joined the party. Here’s a local Canadian dealer — yes, the boastful one I mentioned earlier — touting its 2015 TDIs.

A software fix has brought down tailpipe nitrogen oxide emissions on these models, and next year’s much more involved hardware fix should bring the models into compliance. Despite an outcry in Europe over reduced performance in older fixed TDIs, VW claims there shouldn’t be a large impact on fuel economy or power. Keep in mind that the 2015 model fix is the only approved fix. American regulators have not green-lit any fix for 2009-2014 2.0-liter diesels.

While the option to wait around for a fix, all available evidence states that older TDI owners should sing a farewell song to their vehicle, then grab that cash with both hands.

[Image: Volkswagen of America]

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12 Comments on “Canadian Volkswagen Diesel Owners Finally Get a Settlement; Dealers Begin Selling 2015 TDIs...”

  • avatar

    So the much-less-generous-than-the-US settlement for Canadians was approved? Fabulous.

    I love living in the land of oligopoly and small markets. I’d like to stop paying a dollar penalty for my citizenship. Maybe when I’m dead.

    F/:# this ducking shot. Yes that’s right, I said ducking shot.

    • 0 avatar

      TDIandThen, I’m not sure why you say the Canadian deal is ‘much-less-generous’ and I’m worried that I’m missing something.

      Back when the US deal was about to go live and a calculator was posted online I entered my car’s information using the nearest US community and it kicked back a dollar figure. I can’t recall what that was but I recall that it would have been about $20,000 CDN. I’ve used the calculator on the Canadian VW site that uses the VIN and calculates a specific value and it spits out $20,335. That seems pretty fair.

      But here’s the thing that I’m not sure of: does that $20,335 include the $5,500 compensation package or not? I’ve looked at the exhibits that are included in the settlement and it looks like the $5,500 compensation payment (that amount depends on the year of the vehicle) is payable IN ADDITION TO the buy-back value. The US compensation had more variables but seemed to be in the same range.

      The only thing I can think of that causes you to say that the buy-back plus compensation is much lower than in the US is the fact that we’re compensated in Canadian dollars and depending on when you bought your car that could create some difference. But that applies to anything you buy in Canada.

      I think getting almost $26,000 CDN on a car that probably had a sticker around $30,000 back in 2013 is a good deal and more than fair.

      But if I’m missing something I’d like to hear from you.

      • 0 avatar

        My mother has a 2013 Highline Jetta with 59000 kms on it. She is supposed to be getting about $25k back, which includes just under $20k for the car’s value and the $5500.

  • avatar

    It is about time. Has anyone ever checked the emissions on VW GAS engines???

  • avatar

    Hallelujah! I’ve been waiting for this day since… well, as the article says, since the US got word on the settlement there. I only hope that VW Canada learned from the mis-steps when the US program rolled out. I’ve already parked mine to keep the mileage as low as possible and defer some maintenance.

    • 0 avatar

      Good Move. After the exprience owners have had here in the UK I don’t think anyone should get their cars modded. Take The Cash. On the EA189 engine the mod results in rapidly failing EGR valves. VAG whinges that they may have already been worn, but why should they on low mileage cars, as in less than 100K? They reject warranty claims for the EGR so owners get the work done at a specialist shop at much less cost which VAG des not register as being related to the update. They then claim that very few cars have had problems. The EA288 engine doesnt seem to have EGR problems but then the mileage is no better than the sparkers.

    • 0 avatar

      @Mike-NB…No, it’s not capital gain. That being said, with any transaction over $9,999 the Bank is obligated to ask you its source. (anti money laundering laws ).. Be upfront with the bank, and retain all your paper work. I’ve sold cars both to dealers,and privately . I’ve never heard anything from the C.R.A.

      Knowing how the CRA operates…I keep my returns going back 10 years.

  • avatar

    I live in Toronto. I figure I will about break even (panic thought: will Revenue Canada consider this “taxable income”?) But, darn, that was a super nice little car, it really was.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Other the the handful of True Believers who still trust VW, I don’t know why anyone would consider buying one of these radioactive cars.

    They dodged the depreciation bullet on their old TDI, but these cars will always be marked with the proverbial scarlet “A”.

  • avatar

    “Begin”? I started calling around on Friday and all the dealers I checked had already sold their allotment of unsold 2015s. Also (at the time) they had no way to put them in to their system, which means they weren’t searchable on the VW web site.

    I tried Audi as well… I think on a 2015 A3 TDI it was $8500 off and sold as a CPO (two years extended warranty).

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