Remember Dieselgate? Of course you do, although Volkswagen would love it if no one did. To its full credit, VW has done right by acknowledging its mistakes, fired certain executives, and has committed itself to an electric vehicle future. Diesel VWs, bought by people believing them to be more fuel efficient than gasoline-engined vehicles, were bought back by the automaker. According to NPR and Reuters, VW has spent more than $7.4 billion on these cars. It destroyed many, fixed and re-sold others.
All told, it has to date bought back around 350,000 vehicles. However, it hasn’t destroyed or re-sold all of them. So, what to do? Create automotive dumping grounds, so to speak. NPR reports that there are 37 remote storage facilities across the US where VW has dumped those vehicles. Don’t think they’re only big parking lots. Just about anything that can accommodate lots and lots of unwanted vehicles has been used. There’s the unused Silverdome football stadium in Detroit, an old paper mill in Minnesota and a large patch of land in the California desert (an aircraft boneyard), to name a few.
Affected diesel owners and lessees have been given a choice to either sell their vehicles back to VW, terminate their lease, or have them modified to make them emissions friendly. They have until this September 1 to decide. The Southern California desert airplane boneyard is already the final resting place for more than 150 retired planes. Diesel Volkswagens and Audis are there now as well, but perhaps not forever. “These vehicles are being stored on an interim basis and routinely maintained in a manner to ensure their long-term operability and quality, so that they may be returned to commerce or exported once US regulators approve appropriate emissions modifications,” a VW spokeswoman said to Reuters.
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