By on August 16, 2018

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

Germany’s federal motor transport authority, die Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), told dieselgate holdouts that haven’t yet fixed their emissions-cheating cars to get them repaired or prepare to have their registration revoked. In fact, officials in Hamburg and Munich have already taken several Audi and VW vehicles off the road.

It’s no wonder there’s cold feet among the citizenry. Reports out of Germany last year revealed that engines returned from the fixes behaving like a person suffering from an incredibly traumatic experience. They just weren’t the same anymore. Some units saw up to a 10-percent decrease in performance and likely ended up with a less-beefy torque curve biased toward higher engine speeds. Fearing that the Volkswagen Group’s “emissions repair” could effectively neuter their car, those abstaining from the recall are now left with no recourse. 

According to Automotive News and its German counterpart, Automobilwoche, the automaker gave VW customers a final ultimatum after repeated warnings.

“The recall [for affected VW diesel cars] is compulsory. Cars that are not fixed can eventually be taken out of service. Subject to the release date of the updates, the car owner has had about a year and a half. Plenty of time, to take part in the recall,” the KBA explained.

You’re probably thinking it’s no big deal and German citizens worried about their car can just get the buyback cash and purchase something else. Sadly, it’s not that simple. While the United States slapped Volkswagen with massive fines and forced it to compensate its customers in full, Europe did not. All the manufacturer has to do is fix the engines to bring them into compliance with emissions standards via (the removal of the contentious “defeat device”).

That basically amounts to customers having to hand over their fully functional automobile, only to get it back with less pep. The KBA claims roughly 95 percent of the 2.46 million affected vehicles in Germany underwent the fix since June of this year. Some 0.6 percent of the remaining cars earned a date with registering authorities following repeated warnings, lighting the fuse on their being taken off the road for noncompliance.

The KBA issued its final warnings at the start of summer, with most drivers heeding them. But reports of fixed European-spec VWs developing new issues persist. In the case of some 1.6-liter diesels, researchers claim the automaker reduced NOx emissions by upping CO2 emissions and lowering fuel economy. The result? More complaints of vehicles exhibiting rough idle and reduced power.

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18 Comments on “Germany Tells Owners of Cheating Volkswagen Diesels to Get Their Cars Neutered or Hand Over the Registration...”

  • avatar

    How about a guaranteed trade-in value on a new VW product? Let the company deal with the problem.
    This bovine excrement should never have happened in the first place.

  • avatar

    I know it’s europe so logic doesn’t count for anything, but why punish the consumer who had no malice in their purchase? Let them keep the car as they want and order the company to provide a guaranteed depreciation-adjusted buyback whenever the current owner is done with the car and would otherwise move to sell it.

    • 0 avatar

      Why punish the air breathers? They had even less malice.

      It’s the principle of the thing, and besides, they’ll function just fine, and as well as buyers were expecting.

      Mostly German officials have to “appear serious” about the environment, especially while caging VW execs.

      • 0 avatar

        Agree with Mike. The entire principle of the thing is air pollution. I didn’t buy a VW, but I’m expected to continue to breath their output? No.

        Get your VW taken care of or loose it! If you’re out $$, take it up with VW.

      • 0 avatar

        “…they’ll function just fine, and as well as buyers were expecting.”

        No, they won’t. Not if the so-called fix is similar to what Americans got anyway.

        • 0 avatar

          How do US “fixed” TDIs fall outside expectations, published specs/ratings or as promised?

          • 0 avatar

            My “fixed” Touareg was borderline undriveable, with an excessively high idle during warm-up, laggy/lumpy throttle response, an erratic stumble in stop and go traffic, bizarre shift patterns and a dramatic increase in fuel consumption. There is zero chance I would have purchased the Touareg had it acted like that during a test drive. I sold it just a few weeks after the modification was performed. If I had it to do over, I would have passed on the cash and kept it dirty.

      • 0 avatar

        I owned a 7.3 Powerstroke for about 3 years and put 40,000 miles on it in that time. It is entirely compliant with the emissions standards when it was built, which is to say there is no catalytic converter on it and never was.

        I’d wager that my 40,000 miles of ownership (sold it at 266,000 miles) made as much of a stink as the combined delta of all the cheating TDIs in Germany between the arbitrary emissions standards and the actual measured emissions. Sure it may be 40x the standards in the US, but you’re talking 40 versus one versus a metric bajillion from my Ferd. Don’t make great the enemy of perfect and don’t punish the consumer if they make a purchase without full knowledge of a scandal that would happen 6 years in the future.

  • avatar

    “the United States slapped Volkswagen with massive fines and forced it to compensate its customers in full”

    Big government strikes again!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Anyone who thinks they can keep driving a non-compliant VW diesel is dreaming.

  • avatar

    Ve kan du dis de hard vay or de issy vay. Va vil et be?

  • avatar

    This shows the difference between how the US government treats its citizens and how European governments treat theirs.

    American owners of non-compliant vehicles were given a generous trade in allowance on a new, compliant one. (I would have made it a direct swap for a brand new, comparable model. Let VW worry about what to do with the trade ins.)

    German owners are told to make do with under performing vehicles. That they paid for better, or might not have bought them at all, is beneath their government’s consideration. “You were scammed by VW? Sucks to be you.”

    • 0 avatar

      No this shows the difference in how VW treated its US customers and how they treated their European customers. The US gov’t did not make VW buy back vehicles.

      I’m sure it won’t be long until California starts failing cars that have not been fixed.

    • 0 avatar

      …aaand that’s how the Germans roll. Keeping VW afloat is preferable to compensating the owners, because the German government doesn’t know when they will get a new QE from the ECB to spend it on VAG debt and stock purchases.

  • avatar

    Hello Matt Posky, Great informative post, after reading this post, some of the confusion is clear from my mind.

  • avatar

    Clever pun on German grammar is embedded in the title.

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