Tom: Tell us what you mean by that. Is there a possibility it will not get addressed?
Mellody: There is an interesting wrinkle here, Tom. The answer to the question is yes, and it is throwing a wrench into VW’s plan to fix the polluting diesel cars. Why? Some people may not want to bring their cars in for a recall, and they can’t be forced to. The reason? The owners of the 482,000 affected Passats, Golfs and Jettas sold in the United states, like their cars, say they are peppy and fun to drive, and by fixing the cars they will likely lower performance and not have the same fuel economy. So, even though these cars emit 40 times to allowed level of some pollutants, drivers may decline, and in many states there is nothing that can be done about it. For example, of the three states with the most cars affected, only California withholds registration renewals from cars that don’t comply with recalls. In Texas and Florida, there are no emission standards in place for diesel vehicles.
Tom: Are there other outstanding issues for consumers to know about?
Mellody: There is one more thing to note here, Tom, and that has to do with the value of these cars. Kelley Blue Book sales data show that the average values of the 2009 to 2015 diesel models have fallen by 13% since the scandal erupted, an average of nearly $1,700 in value per vehicle. On top of that, there is really no way to repair these vehicles that would make them meet the specifications that buyers believed they had previously, and the head of VW’s U.S. division said as much, stating that he believed the fixes would be able to achieve the fuel economy ratings, but not the performance ratings, that were initially promised. Because of the loss of value caused by the recall, and the possibility that the performance of the vehicles could possibly be determined to be harmful to the consumer, the company is likely to see lawsuits and they may be pressured to compensate owners for this loss, so if you are affected, follow the developments closely. You can start at the Volkswagen website for the U.S.
Tom: Thanks for joining us this morning, Mellody.
Mellody: Have a great day, Tom!