If you own a Volkswagen TDI, you have reason to be upset with the manufacturer. You own a car that plummeted in value after news of the Volkswagen diesel cheating scandal broke in September, 2015. In some states, you may not be able to even renew your car’s registration if it won’t pass an emissions check. You still have to pay your car loan, though, and if you live in a state that levies personal property taxes, it is unlikely the local tax authorities are sensitive to your plight.
In line with the terms of a legal settlement reached by the company with several states, federal regulators, and private owners, the company has begun buying back some of the cars for what they were worth in September of 2015. One such owner is Joe Mayer of Cincinnati, Ohio, who owns a 2010 Golf TDI. The terms of the federal court settlement are quite general. They specify that any eligible vehicle “must be operable, meaning that it can be driven on its own engine power.” Mayer called Volkswagen to see if he could remove parts from the car before selling it back to the company. He spoke to a representative who told him, “I’m not telling you you’re allowed to, but the only thing required is that it’s driveable and operable.”
Mayer decided that meant he could remove all the parts of the car except the engine. He would drive the stripped chassis to the local Volkswagen dealer, collect his check, then resell the doors, seats, bumpers, carpet, radio, instruments, switches, and other assorted bits. But first he took photos of his stripped out Golf and posted them to Instagram. Jalopnik picked up the story, which got Volkswagen’s attention. The company complained to the court. Federal judge Stephen Breyer, who approved the settlement, was not amused.
“Clearly the purpose of the agreement by Volkswagen was to accept these cars in the condition that they were in as they were being driven on the road, and not to strip the cars.” He said he would consider further action if necessary, though it’s not clear exactly what that means. However, federal judges have enormous power to enforce their orders. If Mayer has any sense, he will back away from a fight with Judge Breyer.
Apparently, other owners have also removed certain “souvenirs” from their Volkswagen TDI vehicles, but none has been quite as brazen as Mayer. If he had not felt compelled to brag about his plan online, Volkswagen probably would have swallowed hard and bought back his hulk of a car. My old Irish grandmother would say Joe Mayer is too clever by half.
Source: AutoBlog Photo credit: Joe Mayer, Instagram