Volkswagen TDI Buyback to Begin?

VW may buy back as many as 115,000 cheater diesel cars in the U.S.

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Volkswagen has been struggling to reach an agreement with U.S. regulators to bring more than half a million VW TDI vehicles into compliance with federal emissions laws. According to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the automaker may decide to buy back as many as 115,000 of its vehicles, at purchase price, as a result.

The remaining affected Volkswagen diesel vehicles will require major modifications to meet U.S. standards, and the automaker has said it will account for the cost of new parts plus the lengthy stay at dealerships, where parts of the exhaust must be reconstructed and approved. While VW CEO Herbert Diess says the newer diesel models will be made compliant, he admits the older 2-liter TDI engines that account for one-fifth of the affected vehicles will be more difficult to update.

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung report, VW may have to resort to a massive buyback of these older models (affected U.S. models date back to 2009) or offer its customers a new car at a significant discount. Volkswagen officials in the U.S. have not said if they’ve discussed such a buyback plan.  

In related news, the German paper also reported that VW’s internal investigation, which involved an amnesty program, has produced 50 employees—including several division heads—who have stepped forward to share knowledge of the diesel scandal.

Following an EPA investigation in September, Volkswagen admitted to using computer software that enabled its diesel models to pass U.S. emission tests, but then let them emit up to 40 times the permitted levels of nitrogen oxides when driven on the road.

On Wednesday, the EPA said recall discussions with VW are not an acceptable way forward, and that the company must develop “effective, appropriate remedies as expeditiously as possible.” Furthermore, the U.S. Justice Department is suing VW for up to $48 billion for violation of U.S. environmental laws.