Following the VW Dieselgate clusterfuck of a situation - where Volkswagen intentionally duped the EPA on emissions tests - the company has stepped up to support its dealer network in the U.S. by paying for the now-illegal unsold vehicles, and offering worker incentives to try to keep sales afloat.
The illegal emissions situation started with close to 500,000 U.S. Volkswagen diesel models dating as far back as 2009, and has now grown to see a stop-sale of 2015 and 2016 TDI models until a solution for the cheating systems found on the cars in question is found.
This is a big deal for a network of VW dealers who have seen diesel sales grow to more than 20 percent of the company’s U.S. sales in the last few years. The government just took away almost a fifth of their income. All of this follows a slow-but-steady decline in sales and brand satisfaction.
Volkswagen was quick to step up and offer complete reimbursements for the the deadweight models now sitting in dealer showrooms, letting the brand take the financial burden instead of the dealerships who are now stuck in this situation - and rightfully so. The financial support includes bonuses and payouts planned down the road, according to Road & Track:
Other goodies include a guaranteed payout worth 1 percent of the MSRP of each vehicle sold in the third and fourth quarters of this year, plus $300 per car ($600 per Passat) during the month of September.
Taking care of the diesel models simply wont be enough, as many Americans are frustrated with the depth of deception Volkswagen has tried to pull off and are likely to write off the brand altogether. It’s going to take incentives, advertising, and likely a great deal of time to earn back even some of the potential customers the company just lost for itself.
The issue over the emissions-cheat has now spread beyond just the U.S., with many more countries undoubtedly rushing to test VW models against their own laws and regulations - there are reportedly almost 11 million models with the deceptive test-defeating emissions device worldwide.
Setting an early precedent in supporting the brand while the company and the governments of the world work to figure out a way to bring VW’s diesels up to standards, and to get them back onto lots - and even then the damage is already done.
The next audience Volkswagen will have to face sooner rather than later is their customers, with the threat of everything from payouts, fines and lawsuits, to the possibility of a complete buy-back for the misleading models looming over their heads.