Volkswagen has not yet gained approval for any potential fixes for its emissions-cheating diesel cars, and now the company may be forced to buy back some of those vehicles.
The German automaker has officially rejected demands by lawmakers and vehicle owners that it should repurchase cars with software designed to trick emissions tests. However, recent statements from the company suggest that it might be willing to change course.
Volkswagen’s attorney, Robert Giuffra, told a San Francisco federal court last week that although VW does plan to fix most of the 575,000 cars in the US, a buyback program might be a better solution for some of the vehicles.
“The question though is one of timing,” he said in court. “And for some of the vehicles it may well be that the timing is too far into the future, so we might have to do a buyback….some sort of a solution like that for some subset of the vehicles. But that hasn’t been determined yet.”
That’s not the first company statement to make such a suggestion. VW CEO Matthias Mueller said at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month that “in theory it’s possible” that VW would repurchase some cars.
Volkswagen is still attempting to agree to repair terms with the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.
VW admitted the diesel cars have software designed to trick emissions tests into thinking they complied with environmental regulations even when they were dumping up to 40 times the allowed levels of some pollutants into the air.
Currently, VW is offering $500 cash and $500 in new car discounts to customers who have fallen victim to the scandal.
The company has also set up a compensation fund to determine how much money it should pay owners to compensate them for the decline in the resale value of their cars.
Many vehicle owners have said publicly they believe their cars should be repurchased by Volkswagen. Other customers are suing the company to have their full purchase price repaid with penalties.