Rather than choose to have Volkswagen (VW) modify their vehicles to meet US emissions standards, the majority of owners affected by the recent diesel emissions cheating scandal in the US have signed up for the vehicle buyback, according to recent reports.
As we’ve reported previously, under the terms of the settlement between US authorities and VW, owners of Volkswagen 2.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel cars with illegal “defeat device” software can either wait for an eventual modification of their vehicle (pending approval of said modification by US authorities) or accept a buyback offer.
Apparently, more than half of the 475,000 owners affected have already signed up for their option of choice — with the majority going for the buyback.
Green Car Reports provides more: “The majority of the 210,000 owners who have signed up want buybacks, Elizabeth Cabraser — lead plaintiff’s attorney in the settlement — said in an interview with Bloomberg. A buyback may seem like the more sensible option, given that Volkswagen hasn’t managed to get any modifications for the 2.0-liter TDI cars approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB).”
Continuing: “CARB said last month that it would begin testing modifications proposed by VW, but hasn’t made any pronouncements since. The overall settlement received preliminary approval from a US judge at the end of July, but while owners can enroll for the process, formal buyback offers still won’t come until at least October and perhaps longer.”
It should be remembered that it’s still something of an open question if the majority of the vehicles affected can even be modified in an economical fashion to meet regulations. It may simply be a cheaper option for VW to buy all of the affected vehicles back and accept the complete loss.
This is partly owing to VW not using urea injection systems (the industry standard for the reduction of diesel emissions) over the last few years. It had previously been something of a riddle how VW was able to avoid the use of the expensive technology, but the scandal clarified that — Volkswagen ignored the actual emissions, and focused on cheating on the tests. The installation of urea injection systems in old vehicles after the fact would be quite expensive.
A hearing scheduled for October 18 will likely see the settlement approved, followed by buyback offers going out.
It’s not clear yet if TDI models outfitted with 3.0-liter V-6 engines will be affected. Though, things are expected to become clearer sometime in or after November — when regulators are expected to report on a potential settlement for owners of the affected vehicles.
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