CARS.COM — Federal and state regulators on Friday approved a fix for a significant number of 2015 Volkswagen diesel engines involved in the automaker’s ongoing emissions scandal. The affected cars have so-called “Generation 3” EA288 diesel four-cylinder engines:
- 2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI
- 2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI convertible
- 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
- 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI
- 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
- 2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI
- 2015 Audi A3 TDI (Audi is a Volkswagen Group brand)
The EPA and California Air Resources Board approved a fix Volkswagen proposed that aims to curb excess nitrogen oxide emissions. That means owners can keep their cars, have a fix made and receive a compensatory payment of anywhere from about $6,000 to $10,000. (See the specific payouts for each car here.)
Volkswagen Group’s so-called “defeat-device” emissions software has allowed hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles from the 2009-16 model years to emit nitrogen oxide at illegal levels while thwarting emissions tests. Nitrogen oxide is a smog-forming pollutant.
Volkswagen told regulators in 2015 that the third-generation diesels should have the most straightforward remedy of all three generations of diesel four-cylinders in the scandal. (The first two generations are the 2009-14 model-year VW and Audi diesel vehicles; a fix for them isn’t available yet.)
Citing “independent testing and analysis at their own laboratories,” regulators said today that Volkswagen’s third-gen fix should not affect gas mileage, reliability or durability. Jeannine Ginivan, a VW spokeswoman, said that the automaker believes the fix should not affect performance, either.
The remedy uses a software update to eliminate the defeat device; owners can get that update now and receive two-thirds of their eligible compensation. In about a year, VW will conduct a second phase that employs more software updates and new hardware: a diesel particulate filter, diesel oxidation catalyst and a nitrogen-oxide catalyst. All of these will be necessary for long-term reliability and emissions performance, regulators said. Upon completion of the second phase, owners will receive the remaining third of their eligible compensation, Ginivan said.
Volkswagen has 10 business days to notify affected owners and lessees that a fix is now available, regulators said.
“This is an important step,” Volkswagen said in an emailed statement. “We will now notify eligible customers in the United States that they can receive phase one of this modification at dealerships free of charge as soon as possible. Volkswagen continues to work closely with EPA and CARB to reach an agreement on approved emissions modifications for other affected 2.0-liter TDI vehicles as quickly as possible.”
If you own one of these cars, you can still have VW repurchase your car under the terms of the automaker’s settlement regarding the four-cylinder diesel engines. Payouts depend on the car, its age and mileage, but they include extra compensation atop the vehicle’s trade-in value. A federal judge approved the final details of the settlement on Oct. 25, 2016, and owners can sign up here.
Any owners who have already sold their car back to VW under the program can’t have it back and opt to get the fix, Ginivan said. For cars in this group that it repurchases, VW generally plans to make the fix and resell them, she added.
Today’s fix doesn’t affect the diesel V-6 engines under the same emissions scandal.