Volkswagen To Begin Diesel Recalls In Germany With Nearly 2.5 Million Vehicles

2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Last week, news broke that Volkswagen had submitted plans to repair most of its illegally engineered diesels in Europe. Now, reports have emerged that indicate the automaker will begin those repairs on its home turf.

Germany’s Die Welt says that around 2.5 million vehicles from model years 2009 to 2016 will be recalled across the country. Most of those — 1.54 million, to be exact — are VW models, though the recall will also include 531,813 Audis, 286,970 Skodas, and 104,197 Seat vehicles.

Those vehicles contain Volkswagen’s 2.0-, 1.6-, and 1.2-liter diesel engines. As we mentioned last week, Germany’s automotive regulatory agency, the KBA, has signed off on Volkswagen’s fix for the 2.0-liter engines, which involves a relatively simple software update. The fix for the 1.6-liter engine has been given preliminary approval and involves both a software update and replacement of an air filter cartridge and grille. Details of the 1.2-liter fix haven’t been released.

If the reports are correct, some six million European diesels will still be in need of repairs after the German fixes are carried out. An additional 2.5 million affected vehicles are located in other parts of the world, with roughly 482,000 of them here in the U.S.

What’s not included in those numbers are the 3.0-liter diesels that also need fixing. While the emissions control software found on those vehicles is fine in many countries, in the U.S. it’s illegal. The software has been installed on approximately 85,000 American Audi, Porsche, and VW vehicles since the 2009 model year. 

Volkswagen has submitted a proposed fix for 2-.0-liter U.S. diesels to the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, but details haven’t yet been publicized. As we’ve discussed on numerous occasions, fixing the illegal software on those vehicles may well have a negative impact on performance and efficiency, which could lead to some very pricey lawsuits.  

And speaking of pricey: a few weeks ago, we pegged the cost of Dieselgate at around $25 billion, but as it turns out, our estimate may have been far too conservative. At least some analysts believe that the fixes and fines could carry a tab closer to $42 billion.