Thousands of Volkswagens that sat in a 200-acre parking lot of Pikes Peak International Raceway have been auctioned to dealerships across the country, raceway president Bob Boileau said.
The cars began arriving in 2017, and the last batch was taken away last month, Boileau said.
The automobiles were stored in the overflow lot after Volkswagen was caught cheating on emissions tests in 2015. In a settlement with the federal government, the car manufacturer was ordered to take its recalled vehicles off the roads and store them.
VW has until the end of June to buy back or fix 85 percent of its recalled 2-liter cars or face more fines, court records show. The auctioned vehicles will be fixed and sold or scrapped, Tim Jackson, CEO of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, told Gazette news partner KKTV.
“Volkswagen was identified to be out of compliance on the vehicle and had to work with the federal government to obtain a fix, a solution, to the emissions issue,” Jackson said. “They bought all of those back from consumers at a very healthy price.”
The recalled vehicles emitted as much as 40 times more nitrogen oxides than the legal standard, according to an investigation by the California Air Resources Board, EPA and the University of West Virginia.
Several Colorado Springs dealerships are among the hundreds nationally that bought the vehicles at auction. The autos went through a third-party inspection before being auctioned and were inspected again by the dealers after purchase, said sales manager Darwin Bilberry at Mike Maroone Volkswagen.
VW offered owners and lessees of the recalled models a free emissions modification, as long as it was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board.
“Everything goes through the EPA and the California emissions board, which is actively involved in what’s happening to these vehicles,” reported a service director for Bob Penkhus Automotive Group.
This process is underway nationwide, Jackson said.
“These vehicles are being stored on an interim basis and routinely maintained in a manner to ensure their long-term operability and quality, so that they may be returned to commerce or exported once U.S. regulators approve appropriate emissions modifications,” VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan told Reuters last year.
No environmental report was on file for the vehicle storage because it was classified as a temporary use, said Nina Ruiz, an El Paso County planner.
“We have not identified any environmental concerns with the temporary storage. Otherwise, we would not have authorized the temporary use,” Ruiz said by email.
VW spent about $7.4 billion to buy back about 350,000 of its vehicles, and PPIR is one of 37 storage facilities around the country, Reuters reported.