VW is unwilling to buy back stripped-down Dieselgate vehicles in the US

Article by Christian A., on December 26, 2016

If you’re an owner of any Volkswagen diesel vehicle covered by the recent court-approved buyback program in the United States and is considering stripping down your unit before turning it over to the carmaker, perhaps you shouldn’t do so, for now.

As it turned out, Volkswagen seems to not be happy about stripped-down diesel cars being resold to them, and is not keen on buying these vehicles back. Earlier this month it was reported that some owners of affected diesel vehicles were taking advantage of the term “operable” as defined by the buyback program. The buyback program defines an operable vehicle as one that can be driven under its own 2.0-liter TDI engine power.

This simply means that vehicle’s 2.0-liter TDI engine should still be able to function and drive the unit. Not a few believed that this could mean that even if an affected vehicle has been stripped down, it is still eligible for the buyback program as long as it can still be driven by its diesel engine. There was a claim that a customer was able to cash in from the program even if he removed the front fascia and headlights of his Golf GTI. Similar claims have also surfaced.

However, it looks like VW is having some trouble in buying back stripped down diesel vehicles. Jalopnik reported on the case of Joe Mayer, who stripped down his 2010 VW Golf before going to his buyback appointment with the carmaker. Before his scheduled appointment, Mayer took pictures of his stripped-down Golf and posted it on his Instagram account. His post caught the attention of Jalopnik, which then ran his story.

But then, a representative from VW called Mayer and told him that his appointment had been postponed. Well, technically, VW didn’t say whether it would pay or would turn down Mayer. But, this clearly indicates the carmaker’s unwillingness to buy back a stripped down vehicle. According to Mayer, the representative told him that stripping down a car “wasn’t in the spirit of the buyback.”

Despite the debacle, Mayer still believes that a stripped down isn’t against the terms of the buyback program. VW hasn’t called him back yet.

In a statement to Jalopnik, Volkswagen noted that – pending regulatory approval of modifications that would allow these vehicles to comply with emissions standards -- the settlement allows the carmaker to modify some of the bought-back vehicles so these can be sold later.

Well, considering that Volkswagen is buying back these diesel vehicles, it really has no confirmed modification solutions that would make them regulations-compliant. There have been speculations that the vehicles that Volkswagen bought back would be sold to other markets where emissions standards are not as high.

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