Buyers Show for Last New VW 2.0-Liter Diesels
Diesel may be dead to Volkswagen, but apparently it's not to diesel's fans. VW got EPA approval March 30 to fix and begin selling about 12,000 brand-new model-year 2015 2.0-liter diesel models that were stranded on dealer lots when the diesel emissions scandal broke, ending production and sales. By April 30, some 3,196 had been snapped up.
That was reflected in dealer listings on Cars.com, where more than 3,300 new ones were listed last week and as of today, there were 3,012, some at healthy discounts.
Sales are being helped along with some significant sweetening: Volkswagen is offering a 24-month lease option with an $8,500 "customer bonus" cash or a purchase option with a 0 percent 72-month loan and $5,000 cash, according to VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan. The cars are sold as new with a detailed disclaimer, she says.
The incentives bring the new 2015s down to the neighborhood of a comparable low-mileage used 2015 vehicle. And while most of these 2015s don't have the latest VW media or safety technology (many models got significant updates for 2016, including available automatic emergency braking), their technology is comparable to other 2015 vehicles, plus they come with a new-car warranty.
The repair also is approved for the remaining 55,000 2015 VW diesels. They include cars still on the road that owners would like to keep or those acquired by VW as part of its emissions recall and court settlement that provides a buyback option for owners. VW has not yet begun offering repaired buyback diesels for sale as used vehicles, according to Ginivan.
Is the repair a risk? The EPA and California Air Resources Board have determined that there will be no effect on the 2015 cars' durability and reliability. And the EPA has posted revised fuel economy ratings for the various 2015 models that show little percentage change, mostly a mile per gallon or two lower. See samples here; as well as the previous ratings for each car linked by the EPA for comparison. Cars.com's experience with our 2013 diesel SportWagen, as well as my own in a 2013 Passat, has been that they can exceed their mileage ratings, at least before the fix. As for any effect on performance, we'll have to wait to try one to evaluate that.
A two-step repair was approved for VW's newest Generation 3 four-cylinder diesels. They can be sold after getting the first step of the fix, a software update. In early 2018, when the parts are ready, they will need to get the second phase of the fix, which involves some hardware as well as software. It is estimated this will take nine hours; a loaner vehicle will be provided if it takes more than three hours, according to VW. The repair itself and any other parts that might be affected by the repair get separate warranty coverage that could extend to 11 years and 162,000 miles, according to VW.
The new 2015 TDI diesel models that can be sold are: Beetle coupe and convertible, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat and Audi A3 (Audi is a VW brand). There is no approved repair nor currently prospects for one for the older-generation diesels covered by the emissions settlement.
So, if you are a highway commuter, or perhaps own an older VW diesel that you'd like to replace, the message in April's sales is that you'd better get a move on.