As Volkswagen begins buying back 2.0-liter TDI models equipped with emissions-cheating software, stories have quickly spread about owners stripping their cars before turning them in. The theory is that the language in the settlement only requires cars to still move under their own power in order to qualify for a buyback, so stripped car still counts.
But USA Today reports that according to Judge Charles Breyer, the judge overseeing the settlement, that’s not the case. Yes, the agreement does say a vehicle has to be operable. And yes, it defines an operable vehicle as one that moves under its own power. However, that doesn’t mean Volkswagen will actually buy back a fully stripped vehicle.
“Clearly the purpose of the agreement by Volkswagen was to accept these cars in the condition that they were in as they were being driven on the road, and not to strip the cars,” Breyer said in a hearing on Thursday.
Jonathan Cohen, an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission, added that, while Volkswagen can’t reject cars based on its “superficial condition,” the agency is “absolutely against bad-faith behavior by consumers.”
So while normal wear and tear won’t be an issue, you’ll be out of luck if you try to turn in a fully stripped car.