It didn't go over especially well. Many critics said that the program's $1,000 worth of benefits -- $500 in the form of a prepaid Visa that can be used anywhere, $500 as a voucher redeemable at participating Volkswagen dealerships -- were too little, too late. But such criticisms aren't stopping Volkswagen from expanding the program to include 85,000 VW, Audi, and Porsche 3.0-liter diesels sold in the U.S.
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Volkswagen's Goodwill Program, as it's called, was initially extended to the owners of 482,000 VW and Audi 2.0-liter "clean diesels" equipped with defeat devices, engineered to cheat on emissions tests. When a car's software determines that a vehicle is being tested, it engages the full suite of emissions controls, bringing it in line with U.S. regulations. After the test is done, the software turns off those controls, boosting nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 40 times the legal limit.
But there are more cars involved in the scandal -- namely, some 85,000 3.0-liter vehicles from Audi, Porsche, and VW. Late yesterday, Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn said that owners of those vehicles will receive the same Goodwill Program offer. He made the official announcement from the floor of the Detroit Auto Show today.
Meanwhile, a fix for the 567,000 affected U.S. vehicles manufactured between 2009 and 2015 hasn't yet been approved. That could change soon: Horn said that the discussion around repairs has been more political than technical in nature. Stay tuned.