It's either fix 'em or junk 'em.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Dieselgate was how Volkswagen intended to fix the cars caught up in the scandal. The answer to that question is still being worked out. However, we know that as part of its settlement, the German automaker will need to fix all of the cars it buys back before reselling them. What’s more is that VW can't sell the cars abroad without first fixing them. If the automaker can’t come up with a fix then the cars it purchases from consumers are destined to die.
Specifically, the cars will have the ECU taken out. The diesel oxidation catalyst and dieselparticulate filter will also be removed. Oh, and there will also need to be a hole measuring three inches cut into the engine block. Now we’re only talking about the cars VW buys back, but what about the cars it promises to fix? Some people are sure to want to keep their rides after all. But if there’s no fix for the cars repurchased then why would there be one for the vehicles people elect to have repaired? Doing the math it sounds to us like Volkswagen may need to buy back every single 2.0-liter diesel—and potentially every 3.0-liter model—affected by Dieselgate. Yikes. Of course this scenario isn’t set in stone.
The company could very well come up with a fix tomorrow. But if it doesn’t then the consequences are grim. We don’t know what the numbers say, but if we were running the show at Volkswagen we’d have everyone working on this. A fix won’t be cheap but at least it would allow the automaker to recoup some of the money it's losing. There’s nothing mechanically wrong with these cars after all. If a potential fix doesn’t affect how they run then Volkswagen could certainly resell them. They wouldn’t get much but it’s better than junking each one.