Volkswagen, still reeling from getting caught with emissions defeating devices on over 11 million of its diesel vehicles around the world, was issued an ultimatum by an American judge to have a fix for its Dieselgate affected cars by March 24.

That’s only 28 days.

Via Automotive News, the federal judge’s March deadline only affects some 600,000 vehicles in the U.S., but requires that VW submit a suitable fix for the emissions cheating diesel-engined cars on American roads to U.S. regulators by the March date.

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Volkswagen admitted back in September that over 600,000 of its diesel models sold in the U.S. from 2009 feature an emissions cheating device that causes the car to output over 40 times its advertised NOx emissions.

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The March deadline puts new pressure on the VW engineering group tasked with finding a fix, with the company’s lawyers and managers warming to the tough revelation that the automaker may have to buy back models from U.S. owners if it can’t engineer a recall in time.

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer commanded that time was running out and that, “six months is long enough.” The March deadline comes after a solution brought forth by VW last month to reverse the emissions bypass on 500,000 2.0 liter diesel models was rejected by U.S. regulators. VW has since submitted a plan for 3.0 diesel engines that is pending.

There was no mention of the consequence if VW can’t reach its deadline.

In the wake of Dieselgate, Volkswagen has appointed a new CEO, fired multiple staff members after launching an internal investigation, began overhauling its corporate culture, brought in the lawyer who last managed the British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill case, as well as former FBI Director Robert Mueller to manage its government and consumer settlement.

The Justice Department and Volkswagen have agreed to not publicly discuss the negotiations, but as March 24th nears closer we’ll probably be hearing something very soon for Volkswagen’s course of action—and just how warm to the thought of buying back affected vehicles VW has become.


Contact the author at justin@jalopnik.com or @WestbrookTweets.