Saturday, November 5, 2016

What Will Happen To All Those VW Diesel Cars?

What is going to happen to all those Volkswagen diesels after the company buys them back starting later this month? Most people assume they will be fed into a giant crusher that will melt the engines down so the metal can be used again. Ideally, the same machine would reconfigure the chassis at the same time and spit out a brand new electric car with 400 miles of range. That would be lovely, of course, but it’s not gonna happen.
Audi TDI diesel engine car
According to the terms of the legal settlement to a federal lawsuit entered into by Volkswagen, it has three options:
  • modify and resell them as used cars (if approved), with proper disclosure to the buyer.
  • export them for resale abroad.
  • render them inoperable and recycle them, or salvage them for parts that may be sold in the U.S. or exported.
Which way Volkswagen decides to go will depend largely on which cars we are talking about. They are organized into three groups, depending on year of manufacture and which engine was installed at the factory.
Group One consists of:
  • 2015 Golf TDI, Golf SportWagen TDI
  • 2015 Audi A3 TDI
  • 2015 Jetta TDI, Passat TDI, Beetle TDI
These 67,000 vehicles are most likely to receive approval for modification because they come closest to meeting emissions regulations as built.  They use a newer 2.0 liter TDI diesel engine known as the EA288 and are fitted with tanks for the Diesel Emission Fluid necessary for the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) treatment system that removes pollutants from their exhaust gases.
Group Two is made up of 2012 through 2014 Passat TDI vehicles. These 90,000 cars were built in Tennessee during that car’s first three model years. They use an older 2.0 liter diesel engine known as the EA189 but are equipped with the SCR system and tanks for the urea fluid it requires. Some of those could be exported to other countries and resold without modifications.
Group Three is the largest. It includes 325,000 cars that were not fitted with the SCR system. They have only a Lean NOx Trap. Included in this group are:
  • 2009-2014 Jetta TDI, Jetta SportWagen TDI
  • 2010-2013 Golf TDI
  • 2012-2014 Beetle TDI
  • 2009-2013 Audi A3 TDI
These cars are by far the dirtiest, and would likely be very expensive to modify. To comply with emission standards, they might require installation of catalytic converters, urea tanks, and many engine modifications they were never designed to accommodate. Most of these engines will probably be “disabled” or rendered inoperable.
That process would probably be similar to the how cars covered under the infamous Cash For Clunkers program from 2009 were disposed of. Volkswagen has already conducted a pilot program to see how the process would work. In the meantime, it is making arrangements to store the nearly half million vehicles involved at locations around the country.
Someday, cars in Group One could be offered for sale to US customers again. They would probably be offered at very attractive prices to overcome the pollution belching stigma attached to them. Would you buy one if the pollution problems are resolved and the price is right? Let us know in the comments section below.

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