Volkswagen has agreed to fork over about $10 billion in a settlement with U.S. regulators to buy back most of its dirty diesel models at generous rates. But that deal applies only to the company’s 2.0-liter diesel engine, a staple of Volkswagen’s eponymous product line, Jettas, Passats, and Beetles. The company has yet to address the emission cheating in its larger, 3.0-liter diesel engines, which were bolted into Porsches and Audis that cost two and three times more than an entry-level Volkswagen.
In addition to Porsche’s Cayenne, the larger diesel engine went into recent Audi sedans –A6, A7, A8; Audi SUVs — Q5, Q7; and the Volkswagen Touareg. It was particularly popular among Porsche fans. At one time, diesel Cayennes accounted for 15 percent of U.S. Porsche sales.
All told, roughly 85,000 vehicles are waiting for resolution on the larger engine. Joe Rice, a South Carolina attorney appointed to represent the class of plaintiffs, contends that Volkswagen is being more nonchalant this time around.
James Kohm, director of enforcement at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, said an appropriate resolution would be a settlement similar to the one hammered out for the smaller engines. Volkswagen, however, hasn’t started negotiating over its Porsches and Audis.
“Right now, we’re in litigation mode,” Kohm said. “And we think we have an extremely strong case.”
Although far fewer customers are still awaiting a payout, they paid far more for their cars. The sticker price on a 2015 diesel Jetta started around $21,640, while a diesel Cayenne went for almost triple that amount. Audi’s Q7 commanded at least $53,400 in the 2015 model year. “It’s a big case,” Kohm said. “You’re still talking about billions of dollars.”
The longer the scandal goes on, the more likely it is to tarnish the company’s blue-chip brands. After all, there’s no scarcity of choice for someone looking to spend more than $50,000 on a vehicle. Porsche, in particular, is Volkswagen’s treasure. It’s still seen as the architect of both the best-performing cars and the best-built cars. In J.D. Power rankings, the brand tops the list on performance and design and is second only to Lexus on dependability.
Indeed, Porsche-pining doesn’t seem to have slowed much. In the 11 months since the VW diesel scandal broke, Porsche sold 5.2 percent more cars than in the year-earlier period, even without diesel SUVs. And for Audi, sales barely dipped over the same period. – AutomotiveNews.com