What happens after the recall? Inside VW’s massive diesel graveyards

In 2015, VW copped to fudging the emission control systems on all their diesel vehicles sold in the US since 2009. Long story short, they pleaded guilty to 3 felony counts, received 3 years of probation, and paid $4.3B in federal penalties. As part of their settlement, Volkswagen agreed to buy back about 350k diesel […]


April 2, 2018

In 2015, VW copped to fudging the emission control systems on all their diesel vehicles sold in the US since 2009. Long story short, they pleaded guilty to 3 felony counts, received 3 years of probation, and paid $4.3B in federal penalties.

As part of their settlement, Volkswagen agreed to buy back about 350k diesel vehicles, costing the company an additional $7.4B.

The question is, where are they keeping all these cars?

Welcome to the boneyards

Of the 350k vehicles recalled, VW’s destroyed 28k, resold 13k, is keeping the other 300k… in car purgatory.

The German automaker has 37 remote storage facilities across the US, including a former football stadium in Detroit, an old paper mill in Minnesota, and a whopping 134-acre patch of desert at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California.

According to a VW spokesperson, the vehicles are being stored on an “interim basis” until they can make emissions modifications approved by US regulators.

Now, it’s a race against the clock

They’ve agreed to spend more than $25B in the US for claims from various owners and regulators, but they only have until June 2019 to buy back or fix 85% of the vehicles involved, or face higher payments on emissions.

And you thought your annual spring cleaning was rough…

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