VW to buy back as many as 115,000 U.S. cars?

VW to buy back as many as 115,000 U.S. cars?

Volkswagen may have no choice but to buy back as many as 115,000 vehicles sold in the United States due to emissions issues that cannot be resolved by other means.

According to Reuters, a report from German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung Wednesday revealed that Volkswagen may be forced to offer buy-backs or significant new-vehicle discounts to the owners of roughly 20% of the affected vehicles sold in the United States.

The newspaper claims sources within the company expressed concern over its ability to retrofit this segment of the affected diesel models in a cost-effective and timely manner. If that turns out to be the case, it could prompt the U.S. government to order a buy-back.

In a previous interview with Reuters, Volkswagen brand chairman Dr. Herbert Diess told the news service that retrofitting early 2.0-liter engines with the necessary equipment to comply with emissions regulations would be more difficult than bringing newer examples up to code. This comes as no surprise, as earlier two-liter TDI engines are not equipped with urea injection, which can go a long way toward making diesel engines compliant.

However, it’s unclear whether the 115,000 vehicles called out by the new report are equipped with that engine. Roughly 80% of the 2.0-liter engines under investigation in the United States are of the older two-liter model. In order for only a subset of those older engines to be more costly, there would have to be significant differentiators between different model years before the major overhaul that added urea injection and other features to the EA188 line of diesel engines.

It’s possible then that the engines in question are in fact not four-cylinders at all, but the three-liter TDI V6 offered in Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche SUVs. These engines have been offered with urea injection for far longer than the smaller four-cylinder TDIs found in VW Group sedans, which would make their culpability here far more surprising.