In an effort to sweet talk owners into not filing claims, Volkswagen has announced plans to give cash and dealer credit to US owners of its clean diesel vehicles affected by the recent auto emissions cheating scandal. The company will issue $1000 cards of which half can be spent anywhere and half at Volkswagen and Audi dealerships. Owners of the 482,000 affected vehicles will also receive free 24-hour road side assistance for three years.
Volkswagen continues to develop a software solution to fix the affected vehicles. The automaker passed initial emissions testing by hiding a sophisticated software program installed on the vehicles that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative elements of the vehicles’ emission control system that exist to comply with CAA emissions standards. The results show emission levels for test driving situations, not actual driving scenarios. Volkswagen is planning a recall to correct the effected existing models. Model year 2015 vehicles will most likely be fixed with software updates. Previous model year vehicles will require installation of additional components which will take much longer to bring the vehicles up to regulations.
The repair to bring the vehicles back within US emissions standards will likely hurt performance and fuel mileage, the two main reasons why customers buy the clean diesel engine vehicles. Volkswagen has already offered a $2000 trade in credit to the owners who wish to trade their vehicle in for a different Volkswagen. This new $1000 credit is in addition to the trade in offer.
Owners of the vehicles retain the right to sue the company. There are currently thousands of cases against Volkswagen as a result of the scandal, with customers claiming their cars have dramatically dropped in value. However, attorneys are warning those who wish to take the $1000 offer from Volkswagen that the automaker may require customers to sign an arbitration clause to get the money. Many suspect this gesture will be presented to customers as an act of goodwill but is truly an attempt to reduce the number of future lawsuits. Those eligible to receive the credit are advised to accept it with caution if they plan to bring a case against the automaker in the future.