VW Cleared to Sell 2015 Diesels After Fix

CARS.COM — Diesel shoppers will soon be able to add certain Volkswagens back to their list, but only a select group of diesel vehicles. The EPA has granted the automaker permission to sell new and used model-year 2015 diesel four-cylinder cars. They account for about 11 percent of the nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles involved in Volkswagen Group’s emissions-cheating scandal.

Related: More on the VW Diesel Scandal

The approved sales are for Volkswagen’s so-called “Generation 3” diesel cars, for which regulators OK’d an emissions fix in January. There are some 67,000 of these Gen 3 cars on the road or dealer lots, including those turned in for the automaker’s diesel repurchase program, VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan told Cars.com. But about 12,000 are brand-new 2015 models that remain from when Volkswagen issued a stop-sale order in September 2015, Ginivan said.

The EPA approval sets the sale of the 2015 cars in motion, but Volkswagen notes that these cars are not for sale just yet. An on-sale date is still to be determined, but VW expects it to be relatively soon. If you are interested, about 2,100 are listed today by dealers on Cars.com.

The cars covered by the sales approval are:

The automaker is working with regulators “on a program to enable our VW and Audi-branded franchise dealers to sell 2.0-liter TDI vehicles with Generation 3 engines once they have received approved emissions modifications,” Volkswagen said in a statement. “This is in accordance with the terms of our 2.0-liter TDI settlements in the United States. We are still finalizing the details of this program and will provide more information on its implementation at the appropriate time.”

The modification stipulates an immediate software update to eliminate the “defeat device” software in the 2015 models. Such devices have allowed hundreds of thousands of VW Group diesels from the 2009-16 model years to emit nitrogen oxide, a smog-forming pollutant, at illegal levels on the road while thwarting emissions tests.

To complete the fix, Gen 3 VW and Audi vehicles will need a second phase of updates in about a year that includes additional software updates plus some new hardware: a diesel particulate filter, diesel oxidation catalyst and a nitrogen-oxide catalyst. But dealers can sell the cars with just the initial software update, Bloomberg News reports.

VW told Cars.com in January that the fix should not affect gas mileage or performance — something Ginivan reaffirmed today. These latest developments do not affect Volkswagen’s Gen 1 and Gen 2 diesel four-cylinder cars, which span the 2009-14 model years and still lack an approved fix. Separately, some 80,000 V-6 diesel models involved in the scandal are a separate matter entirely, with a proposed buyback program and fix for some models still awaiting final court approval, with a hearing set for May 11.

Separately today, Volkswagen announced that it has reached a settlement with attorneys general of 10 states that sued Volkswagen separately, outside of the umbrella settlement over the violation of their clean-air rules and other claims. VW Group has agreed to pay a total of $157.45 million to be allocated among Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

The total bill for Volkswagen in the diesel scandal will exceed $20 billion, including a $4.3 billion plea deal with the Justice Department to settle criminal charges that is awaiting final approval.

Fred Meier contributed to this report.

 
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