Why Is Volkswagen Storing Thousands of Cars Around the Country?

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 standards.

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 affected by 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.

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