By now you’ve probably heard about the gigantic scandal that has
besieged German automaker Volkswagen, who own and operate a number of
other brands including Audi, Bugatti, and numerous others. In September
2015, the automotive mega-giant admitted to installing software that was
designed to cheat emissions tests conducted by the EPA in order for their
line of “clean” diesel sedans to go on sale in the United
States. As a part of this now multi-year period of turmoil, Volkswagen
has seen plummeting sales numbers and tremendous losses as the company
has now begun to work out solutions that will resolve these emissions problems.
However, this solution doesn’t matter for thousands of people who
had purchased one of the vehicles with the corrupt software—the
dishonesty alone was enough for people to demand a full refund on their
purchase price or having the lease cancelled, which should come as no
surprise as many people bought these vehicles for their advertised environmental
friendliness. Owners can still file a claim with Volkswagen until September 1st of this year, opting to either have their lease cancelled, their car bought
back, or receive modifications and improvements that remove the faulty
software and allow the car to be legally driven under acceptable emissions
Volkswagen, in an attempt to salvage some of their respectability and reputation,
have since found themselves with hundreds of thousands of vehicles—more
than 350,000 in fact, and it isn’t sure exactly what to do with
them all yet. And that’s where we find Volkswagen today, storing
these vehicles in 37 remote storage facilities all around the country,
including a somewhat famous one here in Southern California. The Southern
California Logistics Airport, located in Victorville, has become an unofficial
landmark for desert travelers as a boneyard for retired airplanes and
jetliners that have exhausted their life. The planes are clearly visible
from Highway 395, which connects much of Southern California to popular
ski resorts like Mammoth Mountain and northern vacation destinations such as Reno.
Those retired aircraft are now joined by a new sight for travelers: tens
of thousands of Volkswagen diesel vehicles, which are being stored on
a 134-acre tarmac lot being leased by Volkswagen until they can figure
out a plan for utilizing these vehicles in the future. Not all storage
facilities are like the one close to us here in Southern California: the
automaker has rented an abandoned football stadium in the Detroit suburbs
and an old paper mill in Minnesota amongst other places.
Volkswagen claims the vehicles are being stored on an interim basis until
the company can determine a plan for their fate. Whether that fate is
to be repaired and sent back into the market or to be scraped for parts
to be used in a future line of vehicles remains to be seen. However, the
company does say the vehicles have not been abandoned; they are being
maintained regularly. So if you’re holding out hope for getting
a sweet deal on a barely-used or possibly even brand-new turbo-diesel
sedan (that this time gets under the emissions limits), then you may still
be in luck.
Have an Affected Vehicle?
If you have a vehicle with this defective software on it, you most likely
have been contacted by Volkswagen already about its status. However, if
you haven’t been, you can check to see if your vehicle is one that’s
going to Volkswagen’s website and entering your 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN). Affected
models include all TDI models of Volkswagen produced vehicles, including
popular models like the Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat, and Touareg, as well
as the Audi A3, A6, A7, A8, Q5, Q7, and the Porsche Cayenne Diesel.
As stated previously, Volkswagen has offered to buy back vehicles from
affected owners who file a claim by September 1st of this year. The company has also recently agreed to a $14.7 billion
settlement. However, you may also be able to forego your share of this
settlement and file a lawsuit of your own against them.
So, if you own one of the Volkswagens mentioned, please
go to Volkswagen’s website. And in the meantime, send your friends or family to Norman Taylor &
Associates when you suspect they may have a "lemon" on their
hands. We are here to be of service.