Volkswagen will soon be able to put formerly emissions-cheating 2015 diesel models on the road.
The automaker says it’s received U.S. government approval to sell 67,000 new 2015 model year diesel-powered vehicles as soon as a software update takes place that will make them compliant with U.S. emissions tests. It impacts vehicles with 2.0-Liter diesel engines.
Thousands of the TDI models have been stuck on dealer lots since the emissions crisis started a year and a half ago. That’s when VW admitted it used a defeat device to cheat emissions tests and make nearly 500,000 TDIs look more environmentally friendly than they actually were.
According to Bloomberg, a VW spokesperson says the EPA is giving dealers approval to sell about 67,000 of those diesels following the software update approved by the agency and the California Air Resources Board. The reprogramming isn’t the whole fix though. The automaker must also make some changes to the diesel engine hardware, including installing a diesel particulate filter, but parts won’t be available until early next year. VW says it is still finalizing all the details.
As you might imagine, this is great news for dealers. The company says 12,000 of the 67,000 2015 model year vehicles impacted are sitting in dealer inventory.
Eventually, the program should also include used 2015 diesels the company has repurchased from owners. The $10 billion dollar buyback plan was part of last summer’s $14.7 billion dollar settlement with U.S. regulators and owners.
While the latest news marks a big step for VW in its continuing recovery from the scandal, it doesn’t mean VW is reviving its diesel plans in America. The automaker still doesn’t plan to bring any new diesel models to the U.S. until at least model year 2018.
Instead, it’s throwing itself into electric vehicles and large SUVs like the new 2018 Atlas, built specifically with Americans in mind. We’ve seen it at auto shows large and small since its debut last fall. It’s clear the company has high hopes it will attract families to the brand as it turns its attention away from TDIs for now.
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