The EPA and California Air Resources Board have approved an emissions fix for Volkswagen's 325,000 Generation 1 2.0-liter diesels. Owners now will be able to keep their cars, though they still have the option of selling them back to VW, and the company now could fix and resell the buyback cars it already has bought back.
The new fix is for the 2009-14 Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Golf and Beetle, as well as 2010-13 Audi A3s. Volkswagen says that means there now is a repair available for 98 percent of the roughly 475,000 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel vehicles involved in the massive diesel emissions cheating scandal. The remaining vehicles are manual-shift Passats not expected to be able to be repaired.
Volkswagen won approvals this year for a fix for most of the Gen 2 and Gen 3 2.0-liter diesels, including some 2015 cars still at dealers and now being sold as new cars. It also has agreed to repair or buy back about 100,000 3.0-liter V-6 Audi, Porsche and VW-brand vehicles, but remains in talks about a fix.
The repair for the Gen 1 2.0-liters involves software and hardware changes. Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan told Cars.com that the company believes the repair will result in no significant difference in performance, nor any effect on reliability or durability, though owners may notice some difference in the diesel's operation.
There will, however, be a cut of up to 2 mpg in fuel economy, and VW says owners will get an updated window sticker with the new mileage rating so they can decide whether to keep the car or take advantage of the buyback. If they keep the car, they still would get under the court settlement a substantial restitution check based on the vehicle once the repair is completed. More details on the settlement and buyback program are here.
In addition to updated software, VW will install a new nitrogen-oxide reduction catalyst on all vehicles, and the 2009 vehicles also will get a glow plug control and diesel particulate filter. The repairs for most can be done in one appointment taking two to three hours; the 2009s will take six hours.
More than 200,000 of these vehicles, however, already have been turned in by owners as part of the buyback program in the settlement, under which they could not be resold or exported until fixed. They have been stored by VW in multiple locations across the country, including the parking lots at the old Superdome stadium in Pontiac, Mich.
Now that a repair is available, VW could fix the ones worth the cost and sell or export them, but there was no immediate word on whether that means diesel fans will see a bunch of vehicles coming onto the used-car market. The company says the stored diesels have been "routinely maintained in a manner to ensure their long-term operability and quality so that they may be returned to commerce or exported."
Volkswagen so far has agreed to more than $20 billion in settlements with regulators and owners in the cheating scandal. The company also pleaded guilty to criminal charges, and eight current or former Volkswagen officials have been indicted, with criminal charges pending against seven and one reaching a guilty plea agreement.