Volkswagen may buy back tens of thousands of vehicles in the United States if the company can’t find an easy way to remove “defeat devices” that allow the cars to evade emissions standards.
The potential buyback is just one of several options being weighed by the carmaker in order to satisfy federal regulators who uncovered the emissions cheating scandal in September, Bloomberg reports.
VW, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Resources Board are currently in discussions on ways to resolve the emissions issues plaguing more than 500,000 vehicles in the U.S. and 11 million worldwide.
According to sources who were briefed on the matter, VW has concluded that it would be easier after to repurchase some of the more than 500,000 vehicles equipped with defeat devices in the U.S. than it would be to fix them.
For now, the figure being linked to a potential buyback is about 50,000 vehicles, but that number could increase.
“We’ve been having a large amount of technical discussion back and forth with Volkswagen,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told Bloomberg on Thursday. “We haven’t made any decisions on that.”
So far, McCarthy says proposals brought forth by VW have been “inadequate.”
“We haven’t identified a satisfactory way forward,” McCarthy said, noting that the EPA is “anxious to find a way forward so that the company can get into compliance.”
A spokesperson for VW tells Bloomberg that the company is working with regulators to reach a solution, but declined to provide details on the discussions.
The company is also working to create its own remedies for the three generation of VW and Audi vehicles found to be non-compliant with emissions standards.
Sources tell Bloomberg that the oldest cars in the mix are currently being equipped with SCR catalytic converters, which includes the installation of a tank of urea-based solution that reduces emissions.