Volkswagen Diesels Going Back On Sale

(Harold Cunningham / Getty Images)

Soon you’ll have the opportunity to buy a new diesel Volkswagen again, and it will probably be your last chance for a long time. VW is preparing to make TDI models from the 2015 model year available for sale at dealers. The models have been modified to the rigorous standards agreed to by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the EPA.

Available Models

The vehicles are a mix of 2015 Golfs, Jettas, Beetles, and Passats that were on dealer lots when Volkswagen issued its stop-sale order soon after the company’s diesel emissions scandal surfaced. In addition, new 2015 Audi A3 TDI models will also go back on sale following the modification.

Each of the “Generation 3” batch of cars will require a software update that reprograms the cars’ engine control modules before they are eligible to be sold, so they will not all be available at once. Over time, approximately 11,000 new 2015 VW and Audi TDI vehicles will be released into the market.

It's Not Clear How the Vehicles Will Perform

Volkswagen has not released any performance specifications on the modified models, and it’s uncertain as to whether they will release official information. One can bet, however, that as soon as one of the modified cars hits the streets, the information about its performance will spread like wildfire across VW TDI forums on the internet.

Special Financing and Lease Deals

Industry reports have surfaced that Volkswagen will be providing generous incentives to move the cars, but the company will not be advertising those incentives. According to CarsDirect.com, VW will be offering buyers a $5,000 cash incentive and zero-percent financing for up to five years. Two-year lease customers will receive an $8,500 discount, plus the equivalent of zero percent financing applied to their monthly payments on some models. Audi is offering 1.9 percent financing for 66 months on 2015 Audi A3 TDIs.

The company is allowing dealers to either disclose or not disclose the deals to customers, so you might have to check a few dealers before you find one that is offering the incentives and has any of the cars in stock.

Older TDI Models

(Volkswagen of America, Inc.)

In addition to the new cars, used models that have received the updates are likely to be soon eligible for sale at Volkswagen and Audi dealers.

The only four-cylinder Volkswagens that have an approved fix are the generation built just prior to the time that the scandal broke. Earlier models, which account for the vast majority the cars with the emissions issues, do not have a fix in place. Experts suggest that modifying these earlier cars will not be cost effective and that the vehicles bought back by Volkswagen under their settlement with regulators will eventually be destroyed. Under the terms of the agreement, the cars cannot legally be exported to other countries with less rigorous emissions rules unless they meet the EPA and CARB standards.

The Scandal and the Future of VW Diesels

Volkswagen settled with owners and regulators last year in a wide-ranging agreement that allows them to sell their four-cylinder VW and Audi cars back to the company or get them modified while receiving substantial payments.

VW has not applied to regulators for the certification of any 2017 models, and any intention to certify 2018 models is doubtful. Instead, VW has committed to the development of as many of 30 electrified vehicles by 2015 and supports efforts for significant expansion of the U.S. electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Currently, the only battery-electric model available in the U.S. is the e-Golf.

Diesel Cars Are Available From Other Automakers

Volkswagen’s problems with diesel technology haven’t dissuaded a number of other manufacturers from offering diesel models. From Chevrolet comes the Cruze Diesel, and General Motors has announced diesel versions of the 2018 Chevy Equinox and 2018 GMC Terrain compact SUVs. Jaguar, Land Rover, and BMW all have luxury car or SUV models powered by diesel engines, including the Jaguar XE luxury sedan, the Jaguar F-Pace SUV, and the BMW 328d. A diesel version of the 2017 Mazda CX-5 is coming soon.

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