Diesel-engined cars sold by Volkswagen and Audi have been embroiled in a scandal since September 2015 over emissions-cheating software installed to pass U.S. regulations. And since then, customers have been in midair over what happens to their cars next. Now we know.
What is the ruling?
A settlement announced June 28 in a California court was agreed upon by several U.S. government agencies, owners who participated in a class-action lawsuit against VW and the company itself. Terms will be finalized in July, but right now there is some relief for owners of VW and Audi cars equipped with a 2.0-liter TDI engine that was discovered by researchers and regulators to be far exceeding NOx (nitrous oxide) emissions standards in the original EPA tests.
Is my diesel Volkswagen affected?
The models affected are the following VW and Audi vehicles sold in the U.S.:
In a press release, Volkswagen of America says of the approximately 499,000 of these vehicles built, there are 460,000 of the VWs and 15,000 Audi A3 TDIs still on U.S. roads. Use the VW of America website (https://www.vwcourtsettlement.com/en/) and punch your VIN in to make sure your car is included in the settlement.
What if I drive a TDI that isn’t listed?
If you have a VW Touareg TDI; Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 or Q7 TDI; or Porsche Cayenne Diesel, your vehicle has a 3.0-liter V6 engine that’s covered under a separate investigation. That settlement is still pending.
What happens if I bought one of these cars, but sold it?
While these models have been removed from VW and Audi used lots since Sept. 18, 2015, it’s been possible to buy these through a private party and take them in as a trade. Buyers who did so between then and June 27, 2016 are eligible to get a payment from VW.
Despite the scandal, I love my TDI and want to keep it. Can I?
The settlement includes a provision for owners who want to hold out for a fix, and they too will get cash compensation from VW.
What’s less certain, however, is what the fix will be and how it will affect performance and economy. It will also depend on what model and year you’re driving, although it’s fair to say the 2015s will likely be affected less by a fix than the earlier models.
How much money can I get from VW?
It absolutely depends on how old your car is, what options it has, how many miles and what it was worth back in September 2015 before the emissions issue sent resale values plunging.
A full range of values provided by NADA Used Car Guide were released with the settlement, but here are some examples:
At the low end, a 2009 Jetta TDI Sedan would be worth between $12,475 and $14,025 in the buyback, or $5,100 in compensation cash if you choose to fix.
A 2010 Jetta TDI SportWagen ranges from $14,775 – $16,607 or $5,100-$5,257 with a fix.
A 2013 Passat SE TDI goes from $21,587-$24,257 or $6,087 – $6,532.
And at the high end, a 2015 Audi A3 TDI Prestige is worth between $39,076 – $44,176 in buyback or $9,002 to $9,852 for the fix.
Those who have been leasing a TDI will get cash compensation, too, if they wish and can visit the VW website to find out how much.
When will I get this money?
If the settlement is finalized in July, VW is expected to start contacting customers and rolling out the cash starting in the fall. The fix is still pending approval from regulators, so there’s no timeline now on that.
Can I buy a new TDI if I trade in my old one?
Not yet, and there has been no indication as to when. It’s most likely pending the yet-to-be-determined fix and if that can be retrofitted into the latest versions of the 2.0-liter TDI. But the stop-sale that’s been in effect since September 2015 shows no sign of letting up soon.
Other automakers are still planning to sell diesel cars and light-duty trucks in the U.S., however. BMW and Mercedes-Benz still sell diesel cars and SUVs, General Motors sells the diesel Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups and will soon sell a diesel Chevrolet Cruze again.