When Volkswagen brought up the idea of fixing its over-polluting diesels in the US, not every class of affected diesel was eligible for a fix at the time. But after some work, regulators have finally signed off on a fix.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) have approved a fix for so-called "Gen 1" 2.0-liter Volkswagen diesels. This includes the 2009-2014 VW Jetta, VW Beetle and Audi A3.
According to the EPA's press release, the fix entails both software and hardware modification. Volkswagen will remove the defeat device software that caused this whole mess and replace it with software with more thorough emissions controls. It will also replace the NOx catalyst. On the 2009 models alone, Volkswagen will also have to replace additional hardware.
"Volkswagen is pleased that it has received regulatory approval to offer affected customers in the United States an approved emissions modification (AEM) for approximately 326,000 Generation One 2.0L TDI vehicles with automatic and manual transmissions," said Jeannine Ginivan, a Volkswagen spokeswoman, in an emailed statement. "This important milestone means that an approved emissions modification is now available for more than 98 percent of eligible 2.0L TDI vehicles in the United States."
With this decision, first-gen TDI owners finally get the choice to get their vehicles fixed. Of course, owners don't have to take this route -- they can still turn the vehicle in, or forego a fix entirely. Owners are eligible for a one-time cash payout, on top of the vehicle's determined value, if they opt for the fix or the buyback.
Volkswagen started moving down this path after the government approved a $15 billion settlement with owners of affected diesel vehicles. Some vehicles can be fixed with software alone, but older vehicles were assumed to require additional hardware. The company ended up in this mess after it admitted to using software to cheat emissions tests around the world for years.