Has it committed another federal crime?
Last December we reported that Volkswagen allegedly sold around 6,700 test vehicles in the US and Europe that should have been scrapped because they were in fact pre-production models. In other words, they were not authorized for road use but these "test and showcase" vehicles were still sold as "Carfax one-owner" certified used cars.
According to the New York Times, a class-action suit has now been filed in federal court that formally accuses VW and its Audi luxury division of "defrauding and endangering its customers by passing off the non-road-legal test vehicles as certified pre-owned."
According to the lawsuit itself, "Volkswagen misrepresented the certification, prior use and mileage of these vehicles to induce the fraudulent sale of these CPO cars...when in fact, Volkswagen knew that these pre-production cars violated Federal Safety Standards and could not be legally sold in the United States." It gets worse for VW. The German automaker reportedly tried to hide its misdeeds "by providing a secret data feed to Carfax that manipulated how and when the mileage would appear in the Carfax vehicle history reports." That's called Federal Odometer Fraud.
In a statement last week, VW said: "We issued a voluntary recall in 2018 for a small number of early production vehicles sold to US customers as used after they were no longer needed for internal use. We issued the recall not because of any identified defect but out of an abundance of caution after Volkswagen discovered that documentation about possible modifications made during the internal use period may be incomplete. (The lawsuit) contains numerous factual misrepresentations which we will address in due course."
Unfortunately, VW's actions haven't been good enough for some. One alleged victim bought a 2016 Golf R for around $1,500 under MSRP though it had 9,430 miles on its odo. "I paid more for it than I should have, and now I can't even drive it legally," its owner told the NYT. Although VW offered to buy it back for $27,000, its angry owner refused because "I'm not going to eat $20,000 that I shouldn't have paid."