Raise your hand if you’ve ever responded to a friend’s complaint by saying, “Doesn’t this seem like a first-world problem?” Are you reading this in your cubicle, hand raised, feeling slightly foolish? All right—put your hand down. Here’s the thing with so-called “first-world problems”: despite their overall insignificance, they’re still real problems. Sure, we wouldn’t rank problems like “the only grocery store in my neighborhood is Whole Foods” alongside “educational inequality is a national epidemic” or “the extreme partisanship infecting the American political process is stunting the possibility of effective change,” but if the only grocery store in your neighborhood is Whole Foods, then the inevitability of spending half your paycheck on (amazing) bananas and homemade hummus could, in fact, very well be a serious personal inconvenience.
You may be asking, “What in the world does this have to do with cars?” Well, in the realm of first-world problems, today’s topic falls somewhere near the top: Although it made headlines with a settlement for 2.0-liter diesel owners, Volkswagen has yet to do right by its upper-echelon shoppers.
The settlement surrounding the 2.0-liter diesels—the engine used in diesel Golfs, Jettas, Passats, Beetles, and the Audi A3—encompassed the majority of VW’s diesel cars (nearly half a million), but the company has yet to address owners of its 3.0-liter diesels. The Volkswagen Touareg (now starting at just under $50K) used this engine, but it was also placed in Volkswagen Group’s premium cars (the Audi A6, A7, and A8), SUVs (the Q5 and Q7), and the profit-margin king of them all: the Porsche Cayenne.
The scope of the settlement will be much smaller than for the 2.0-liter engines, but the dollar figure may not be. Although the number of 3.0-liter cars is comparatively small, with roughly 85,000 affected, the cost of those cars greatly surpasses that of the more economical 2.0-liter models.
Automotive News reported on the situation last week, explaining:
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…
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.
Volkswagen has agreed to buy back affected 2.0-liter cars for anywhere between $5,100 and $10,000. The cost of buying back the 3.0-liter cars, however, will need to be higher. Because of this, Volkswagen is undoubtedly trying to negotiate a more favorable (for it) deal. Regardless, many Porsche and Audi shoppers are looking to Volkswagen for answers and are frustrated that, despite forking over more money for their cars, they’re being treated as an afterthought in the process. When the victim is the owner of a $60,000+ Porsche Cayenne, it’s easy to dismiss it as a first-world problem. But it’s a problem nevertheless.
Does a buyback make sense for vehicles with Volkswagen’s 3.0-liter diesel engine?
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