Judge to VW Owners: Better Not Strip Your Cars

Judge says Volkswagen doesn't have to buy back stripped down cars in emissions settlement.

Posted in News

— Volkswagen owners who are planning on stripping down their vehicles before the automaker buys back those vehicles may need to rethink what they are doing as the federal judge in charge of the emissions scandal warns he won't tolerate such actions.

The judge further says Volkswagen doesn't have to tolerate those actions and will flatly refuse to buy back vehicles that have been picked to the bones.

As part of VW's $10.3 billion buyback offer to owners of 2-liter diesel vehicles, the automaker will buy back the vehicles and in addition, pay compensation ranging from $5,100 to nearly $10,000 per vehicle. But some owners clearly believe the deal isn't good enough and have reached into their toolboxes to start dismantling the cars.

Audi and VW owners have taken to online forums describing how they stripped their vehicles of bumpers, doors, seats and many other components before trying to return their vehicles to the automaker.

One Volkswagen Golf owner bragged how the wording of the emissions settlement agreement meant he could take just about everything off and out of the Golf, right down to the airbags. However, instead of receiving about $15,000 in a buyback offer, plus additional compensation, Volkswagen denied the claim and said no deal to the buyback offer.

While that specific Golf owner went to all that trouble for nothing, other owners have taken smaller actions, such as trading parts of their cars to friends who needed those parts.

If owners were waiting on answers concerning stripping down their cars, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer has answered by saying owners should think twice about altering their vehicles if they want VW to pay for the cars.

Attorneys for Volkswagen say the buyback offer and compensation program are fair to owners and the cars should not be stripped of parts, something Judge Breyer agrees with. The judge says the purpose of the settlement agreement is to accept the cars in the condition they were in while on the roads.

If owners continue to intentionally alter their vehicles before trying to sell them back to the automaker, the judge says he may step in and take official action to fix the problem.