While U.S. recalls of diesel cars fitted with "defeat device" software still haven't been announced, Volkswagen has begun the process of trying to market its way out of the current emissions scandal.

It placed a series of full-page ads in U.S. newspapers Sunday declaring its good intentions, and plugging a customer goodwill program.

"We're working to make things right," the ads said.

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The ads represent Volkswagen's first significant attempt to market its way to an improved public image, according to Advertising Age.

They were lined up to run in more than 30 newspapers, including The New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times.

Digital banner ads are reportedly planned as well.

2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI

2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI

The newspaper ad takes the form of a letter from Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn, addressed to the 482,000 owners of the affected 2.0-liter diesel cars built between model years 2009 and 2015.

Horn notes that VW previously apologized to owners, and asks for their "continued patience" as the company works on a remedy.

The ads also plug the customer "goodwill" program announced November 9.

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Owners can receive a $500 Visa gift card, a $500 card redeemable at their VW dealership, and three years of roadside assistance.

Note that owners do not give up any legal rights if they accept this offer.

Ads direct owners to VW's dedicated website for the diesel-emissions issue--VWDieselInfo.com--where they can enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to see if their cars qualify for the program.

Volkswagen ad responding to diesel scandal

Volkswagen ad responding to diesel scandal

Audi of America launched a complimentary program for owners of 2009-2013 and 2015 A3 TDI models last Friday.

This is the latest attempt by VW to restore some measure of public trust after the EPA announced in a news conference that the company had installed "defeat device" software in nearly half a million cars.

The software detected when cars were being tested for emissions under laboratory conditions, and kept them operating within legal limits.

But these limits were ignored in real-world driving conditions.Tests showed that certain models emitted up to 35 times the legally-permitted amounts of nitrogen oxides.

2014 Volkswagen Beetle TDI

2014 Volkswagen Beetle TDI

The full list of affected models includes:
  • 2009-2013 and 2015 Audi A3 TDI
  • 2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI
  • 2010-2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI; 2015 Golf TDI and Golf SportWagen TDI
  • 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, 2009-2014 Jetta SportWagen TDI
  • 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI

Certain models may only require software adjustments, but others that were not fitted with a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) exhaust aftertreatment system may require more extensive modifications.

Retrofitting cars with SCR systems could cost several thousand dollars apiece, leading to suggestions that VW may have to buy them back.

The EPA subsequently announced that several VW, Audi, and Porsche models using a separate, 3.0-liter V-6 powertrain also have the cheating software.

Volkswagen has not acknowledged any impropriety, although it did stop sales of all affected models.

[hat tip: George K]


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