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Upset VW owners are stripping their buyback cars to the bone, then turning them in

December 13th, 2016 at 11:02 PM
vw settlement

Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating woes just refuse to die down, and now that buyers who ended up with the vehicles are able to sell them back to the company, things are getting very interesting. Some particularly disgruntled VW customers have taken the somewhat odd but totally understandable step of completely stripping their diesel cars before handing them back over to Volkswagen for the agreed upon settlement.

As Jalopnik reports, the terms of the buyback are extremely loose, and require only that the vehicle be deemed “Operable.” In order to meet that minimum requirement, the car has to be drivable via the 2.0 diesel sitting under its hood, and can’t have a messy title, like a Flood, Rebuilt, or Salvaged designation. Aside from that, everything else is apparently fair game, and several former VW owners are taking advantage of the situation by parting out as much of the car as they can before handing in what’s left and receiving their share of the settlement.

Owners are trading notes on Reddit and there’s already been confirmation from more than one TDI trade-in that their payment was unaffected. Bumpers, headlights, sound systems, and lots of other resell-worthy parts can be removed, and VW will still take the cheating diesels as part of the settlement agreement.

It might seem odd for the company to turn a blind eye to this, but when you consider the situation it makes a bit more sense: Volkswagen really has no hope of getting these vehicles back on the road to begin with. The cars will almost certainly be destroyed and recycled anyway, so it’s of little consequence whether they’re stripped bare or completely intact. The relatively small number of people actually doing this isn’t enough of a reason to start drawing lines in the sand, especially when VW wants nothing more than to put this entire saga as far behind them as possible.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today,, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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