Thousands of Volkswagen and Audi cars hit by the diesel emissions scandal are currently being stored in a ‘desert graveyard’.
The cars are being stored near Victorville, California. – one of the 37 secure storage facilities around the US. According to a recent court filing, Volkswagen has housed nearly 300,000 vehicles at these locations. The German automaker revealed that the sites include a shuttered suburban Detroit football stadium, a former Minnesota paper mill and a sun-bleached desert graveyard near Victorville, California.
VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan revealed that the cars are being housed at these facilities “to ensure the responsible storage of vehicles that are bought back under the terms of the Volkswagen” diesel settlements.
According to the VW spokeswoman these vehicles aren’t being stored here permanently and it is only a temporary arrangement. The cars stored at these locations are routinely maintained in a manner to ensure their long-term operability and quality. Once the U.S. regulators approve appropriate emissions modifications, these cars may be returned to commerce or exported.
The court filing said through Dec. 31 Volkswagen had reacquired 335,000 diesel vehicles, resold 13,000 and destroyed about 28,000 vehicles. As of the end of last year, VW was storing 294,000 vehicles around the country.
VW has agreed to spend more than $25 billion in the United States for claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles. The buy backs will continue through the end of 2019.
VW must buy back or fix 85 percent of the vehicles involved by June 2019 or face higher payments for emissions.
The company said in February it has repaired or fixed nearly 83 percent of covered vehicles and expects to soon hit the requirement.
Through mid-February VW has issued 437,273 letters offering nearly $8 billion in compensation and buybacks.
In April 2017 Volkswagen was sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to three felony counts and paid $4.3 billion in federal penalties. The automaker in September 2015 admitted to circumventing the emissions control system in U.S. diesel vehicles for vehicles sold since 2009, prompting the resignation of the company’s chief executive.
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