Legions of Volkswagen owners had a choice to make when the company’s emissions cheats were uncovered. They could sell their cars back to the company or they could choose to have them repaired. That took care of the cars people had already purchased, but unsold cars were resigned to sitting on dealers lots. Now those cars can finally be sold.
Volkswagen hasn’t been allowed to sell any of its diesel vehicles in the United States since September 2015. The company has since come up with a fix and both the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board have given them approval to go ahead and sell these diesels.
Each car will get a software update that disables the defeat mechanism that allowed them to pass emissions tests only to switch to a mode that would fail those tests as soon as they drove away. It’s somewhat of a partial fix, however.
The software update is one part of the solution. The second part is new hardware, but that isn’t yet available and likely won’t be until sometime next year. Rather than wait on that hardware, as long as the software update is complete, the government will let Volkswagen sell their diesels. Once that hardware is available, it will need to be installed in these vehicles as well as those sold before the emissions scandal hit. Expect a recall to install that hardware once the parts are ready.
Despite the huge number of cars involved in the scandal, not many new 2015 diesels are out there. The company only has dealer inventory of 12,000 units. If you want a new Volkswagen diesel, this is your only chance in the next few years. The company has no plans to offer current model year diesels through 2018 and hasn’t said if it plans bring them to the US in later model years.
Volkswagen can sell their 12,000 diesels, but there’s no guarantee anyone will want to buy one. Consumers lost confidence in the company and some won’t buy another Volkswagen after feeling cheated and lied to about their cars. There are also reports from owners of diesel vehicles in the U.K. who claim their fixed Volkswagens are no longer drivable. This could make U.S. buyers wary. Volkswagen is ready to sell its remaining diesels in the U.S., but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll find customers willing to buy one.