Reader Question: Diesel VWs in Storage

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Larry asks: You mentioned a large number of VW diesels are sitting in undisclosed areas until a decision about how they will be disposed of is released. Have you heard of any sales taking place? If they are open to the public I’d like to hear about it. I bet there will be a large number of people wanting to buy them.

My reply: I am keeping my ear to the ground.

The vehicles we’re talking about fall into two categories: Those bought back by VW – i.e., already-sold/already-in-use cars that were turned in by their owners in exchange for a cash settlement. And some brand-new (mostly 2017 model year) VWs that were never sold because of the unfolding “cheating” debacle. These were either never shipped to dealers or were returned to VW by dealers who had them on their lots.

These cars – both categories – will either be destroyed or “fixed” at VW’s discretion. The “fixed” ones may be sold, eventually but the problem (I assume) is figuring out how to sell what are now almost-two-year-old cars as new cars through the usual dealer network channels. Would this undermine the sale of “new” (2018 and 2019) VWs? How will warranty coverage apply?

Also, I suspect that VW is very eager to put as much distance between itself and these cars as possible. So my bet is they’ll either be destroyed or shipped discreetly overseas to be sold in foreign markets.

It’s unspeakably disgusting.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. Larry,

    I posted the following in this article

    This really chaps my ass knowing now that these states are using their part of the loot to subsidize electric infrastructure. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse. Bastards.

    Well, I can provide a bit of good news regarding VW’s TDIs. I went to drive a Passat TDI several weeks ago and had a long discussion with the boys at the dealership (fantastic car by the way, in my opinion). Apparently they are reintroducing a lot of these cars that were bought on the buyback program back onto dealer lots. We all know about the large stash of them in the CA desert but there are also huge lots of them in Chicago and Detroit apparently. They of course have to get the software “fix” for VW to sell them. The new window stickers reflect this “fix” and I believe they dropped 2 mpg from the original rating (but as most here know, these TDI’s get better than advertised MPG anyway). But VW dealerships are starting to get more of them on their lots.

    And VW really wants you to buy one! They were offering 24 months/unlimited mileage warranty on the whole car (it was certified). And a $500 some dollar giftcard plus the first months payment. And they’re financing was cheaper than even my (and other’s) C.U.’s at 2.49%. I didn’t pull the trigger due to my own financial circumstances but I will be most likely in the near future (probably going to go with a Golf Sportwagen TDI now though). It was an interesting conversation and a bit of some good news. Which is few and far between these days.

    • Hi C,

      Thanks for keeping an eye on this. I can add the following: Hugely off the record, mid-level people I know inside VW are doing everything they can to resuscitate these cars, but they are up against a management that – at least publicly – is embracing the electric car tar baby. This latter may end up causing VW more damage than the “cheating” scandal given EVs are unsustainable economically, as has been discussed on these pages many times. Yet VW and other majors are investing (terrible word in this context) huge sums in these EVs, for reasons of political correctness. It is akin to the dumbing-down of academic standards for the sake of “diversity” – and the results will be similarly catastrophic.

  2. Weren’t they blocked from shipping them overseas? Maybe that was for the duration of the court procceding.

    Best case scenario, they sell the majority into the used car market (all the ones they bought back at least). Its not like they have to be sold all at once. They may be best off selling the never sold into the used market too, VW dealers could maybe get first pick of those. Guessing the oldest and high mileage will get scrapped.

    Medium case scenario, sold overseas. At least they aren’t wasted (or even “fixed”).

    Worst case scenario, all get scrapped.

    Eric, what do you think the condition of these cars will be? They have been sitting in open fields in the weather (one near me is not far from Lake Michigan), likely never started, maybe not even prepped for storage.

    • Hi Rich,

      The sitting is without doubt news. They will likely need significant fuel system service and a thorough general going over… think mice in the harnesses and other such…


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