Volkswagen’s $500 Apology to Owners

TDI2Volkswagen of America is assembling what it calls a “goodwill package” for owners of VW 2-liter “clean” diesel vehicles affected by the company’s massive emissions scandal. The package consists of a $500 prepaid Visa card and another $500 that can only be used at Volkswagen and Audi dealerships. They are also going to throw in three years of free roadside assistance. This is an obvious attempt to pacify angry VW owners who have been waiting for answers. Unfortunately for VW, this idle attempt is not going to be the answer to cease the mob.

I doubt any VW owner will deny the money, but $500 is far from settling things for VW. They aren’t getting off that easily for installing “defeat device” software to cheat emissions testing on 11 million vehicles worldwide. VW owners are losing much more than $500. First off, their cars are now drastically reduced in resell value. They paid premium dollar for nothing more than a lie. The car they thought had great mileage, performance and was better for the environment is nothing more than a deceptive scheme that VW is now paying for. Literally.

The $500 credit at the VW dealerships is the biggest joke. Most of these buyers aren’t wanting to turn around and buy another VW. It’s like being cheated on by your spouse. You end up having major trust issues. Michael Horn, VW of America’s CEO, calls the package “a first step toward regaining our customers’ trust.” Sadly, VW will need to walk 10,000 miles to gain the trust back from the majority of their once-devoted customers. Many wonder, if VW did this, what else did they do? Where does it end?

I have heard of some dealerships offering VW owners $2,000 (or other amounts) to trade in their vehicle for a new VW car. Their offer right now sounds better than VW’s first step. But, it’s not the best choice for the long haul. VW isn’t getting out of a lawsuit and smart owners will stay strong and wait for the compensation they deserve. $500 is pixie dust compared to the treasure chest that could land on their doorstep when all of this is said and done.

 One VW diesel Golf owner from Connecticut stated it best, “I guess it’s a very small step in the right direction. But far from what I’d like to see in terms of being compensated.”

Other VW owners have expressed they feel insulted by the peace offering. Terms spread on the internet consist of “slap in the face” and “scandalous” to describe the goodwill package.

Many VW owners purchased their cars with the thinking that they would uphold a great resell value. Now owners are being told by dealerships that their cars have lost half of its original value. If VW really wants to make this right, they need to either buy back the cars or pay out proper compensation. If cars end up being recalled, the “fix” will give them a much different vehicle. They will drive away with a gas-guzzling vehicle with drastically slower performance.

I think filing a claim and jumping on the VW class action lawsuit bandwagon is the best choice for a VW owner to make. Sometimes, it really does pay to be patient.