NEW YORK — Volkswagen, which has yet to find a fix for its emissions-cheating diesel cars, may buy back some of those cars.
So far, the German automaker has officially rejected demands by lawmakers and owners that it should repurchase cars with software designed to trick emissions tests. But recent statements from the company indicate it’s reconsidering that position.
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 U.S. that don’t comply with emissions rules, a buyback program might be a better solution for some of the vehicles.
“The question though is one of timing,” he told the 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.”
The statement in court is the strongest indication yet that VW is considering buying back some of the cars. VW CEO Matthias Mueller said at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month that “in theory it’s possible” that VW would repurchase some of the cars. It was first reported in Friday’s New York Times.
VW says it’s still meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, the two regulators who have cited VW for the emissions violations, to try to reach an agreement on a fix.
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.
The company has 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. It is also offering $500 cash and $500 in discounts to diesel owners as an apology for the problem. But many diesel owners have told CNN that they would prefer VW buy back their cars rather than fix them.