Volkswagen TDI Buyback: What You Need to Know

If you bought or leased a Volkswagen TDI on or before September 15, 2015, you are probably eligible to receive a buyback offer from Volkswagen.

The buyback comes as compensation for the hassle of driving a car affected by the biggest scandal in automotive history. 2009-2015 Volkswagens and Audis equipped with the 2.0-liter diesel engine are eligible for a buyback of roughly $12,400-$44,000, depending on the year and model of the car.

Buybacks started this month and, as of October 18, about 340,000 people have signed up to accept the offer. This opens up the question:

What will happen to the hundreds of thousands of cars that Volkswagen buys back?

Car and Driver answered that question and said,

Volkswagen can’t resell the cars it buys; nor can it export them to other countries without modifying them to be EPA compliant. Since there is no EPA-approved modification—Volkswagen has multiple deadlines through October 2017 by which it must submit final modification proposals—the cars must be “rendered inoperable” by removing their main brain, the engine control unit (ECU). The rest of the cars can be scrapped for parts, and those parts can be resold here or abroad, including the engines. Only the ECU, the diesel oxidation catalyst, and the diesel particulate filter must be destroyed on each car.

Sounds like the market is about to be flooded with late model Volkswagen parts! Unless, of course, Volkswagen decides to store the cars until a fix is approved by U.S. regulators. If that’s the case, the cars could be resold at a later date. An approved fix isn’t likely to happen until at least the end of 2017, which would mean finding places to store up to a half million cars for more than a year.

Parting them out may prove to be the more economical choice.

A list of the affected cars, and their approximate buyback prices, can be found here. The official VW site with more info is here.

If you own an affected Volkswagen or Audi, will you keep it or accept the buyback offer?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.


    • Hi Mike,
      You’ll need to check with Volkswagen to be sure, but owners who bought their cars after September 18, 2015, the day VW’s emissions cheating was announced by the EPA, essentially get half the payout that would go to an owner who bought the car before that date. Let us know how it goes.

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