Most VW diesel owners want the buyback, not a fix for their cars

Almost half of the 475,000 TDI owners have already signed up for Volkswagen's settlement program—and most of them don't seem interesting in waiting for modifications.

Markus Schreiber/AP/File
The VW sign of Germany's Volkswagen car company is displayed at the building of a company's retailer in Berlin.

Under the terms of a proposed settlement, owners of Volkswagen 2.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel cars with illegal "defeat device" software have two options.

They can take a buyback from VW, or wait to have their cars modified to meet emissions standards, assuming said modifications are ultimately approved by regulators.

Almost half of the 475,000 affected TDI owners have already signed up for the settlement program—and most of them don't seem interesting in waiting for modifications.

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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB).

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 U.S. 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.

Since news of the Volkswagen diesel scandal broke almost a year ago, owners have expressed concerns that modifications may adversely affect performance and fuel economy.

Many analysts, meanwhile, have questioned whether the majority of cars can be economically modified at all.

That's because about 325,000 of the 2.0-liter TDI cars lack selective catalytic reduction systems (SCR, also known as urea injection).

Those systems are now all but universally used to reduce emissions from most diesel cars built in the last few years. VW's had been a notable exception.

It's unclear whether the affected cars can meet emissions standards without SCR systems, and installing them would require the addition of considerable extra hardware.

Buybacks might also prove a quicker way for VW to address the majority of 2.0-liter TDI cars, as it does not rely on owners bringing their cars into dealers to be modified.

Buyback offers won't go out until the settlement receives its final approval, which can only happen at or after a hearing on October 18.

Owners will likely have to wait beyond that for any modifications.

Meanwhile, owners of TDI models equipped with 3.0-liter V-6 engines will remain in limbo until at least November.

That's when Volkswagen and regulators must report on progress regarding a settlement for those vehicles.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Most VW diesel owners want the buyback, not a fix for their cars
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today