Lawmakers Call For VW To Buy Back Emission-Cheating Cars At Pre-Scandal Value

passatdieselgrabDespite nearly a quarter of the 482,000 owners of Volkswagen vehicles equipped with “defeat devices” accepting a “goodwill package” of $1,000 in cash and credits for their troubles, lawmakers said on Thursday that the carmaker needs to do more – namely buy back the automobiles that violate federal air pollution emission standards. 

Senators Edward Markey, of Massachusetts, and Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, urged VW to buy back the faulty cars at the “fair market value” they had prior to the onset of the company’s emissions scandal.

In a letter [PDF] to Volkswagen of America President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Horn, the senators called the current goodwill offer a “pittance” that doesn’t fully compensate consumers for the declining resale value of their vehicles.

“We write to urge you to offer a more robust compensation for drivers of all VW vehicles purchased in the United States that contained defeat devices used to circumvent [nitrogen oxide] emissions control requirements,” the letter states.

The senators point out the car manufacturer’s contrasting responses to the emissions scandal in the U.S. and Europe, where a majority of the 11 million affected vehicles are located.

“In the EU, where VW acknowledged that it sold vehicles with ‘CO2 irregularities,’ VW has offered to buy back some of the vehicles at the current market value,” the letter states. “We believe a similar offer should be made in the U.S, and that VW should offer to buy back all vehicles that were equipped with defeat devices at the fair market value that existed before the existence of the defeat devices was known.”

Volkswagen, now at the center of two scandals related to nitrogen oxide and carbon emissions, faces a deadline Friday to provide regulators in the U.S. with plans on how it will bring its diesel cars into compliance with air-quality standards.

Issues for the carmaker began back in September, when the Environmental Protection Agency, along with the California Air Resources Board, issued a notice of violation covering 482,000 diesel vehicles since 2008. The agencies deemed the vehicles to be equipped with “defeat devices” designed to cheat emission tests.

Since then, VW has admitted to rigging nearly 11 million vehicles worldwide with the software programmed to detect when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and to only turn on full emissions control systems at that time.

In early November, the U.S.-based agencies announced they had found an additional 10,000 VW, Audi and Porsche models to have the same devices.

The New York Times reported earlier Thursday that reps for VW and Audi are expected to meet with officials from the EPA and CARB on today and tomorrow to review the company’s proposed solutions for the vehicles.

A spokesperson for CARB says the agency expects VW to submit its plan to modify the cars and to describe how it intended to proceed with a recall. It was unclear if Friday’s expected proposal will be a definitive fix or just an initial version of a plan.

[via The Hill]

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