Volkswagen is still not ready to launch a recall of diesel cars with "defeat device" software in the U.S., meaning customers are still in limbo.

Given the significant costs likely involved in modifying many cars to meet emissions standards, many analysts and VW owners have called for the company to simply buy back the cheating diesels.

And it's possible Volkswagen may be considering that, at least in the case of some models.

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The company could buy back 115,000 TDI models in the U.S., according to a report from the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, translated by Reuters.

Without citing its sources, the paper claimed VW is planning to refund the purchase price of these cars, or offer owners a new car at a significant discount.

It did not say exactly which cars would be included in this plan.

2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed Volkswagen's emissions cheating at a press conference last September, it identified 482,000 cars equipped with 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines as having "defeat device" software.

Subsequent probes found that an additional 85,000 vehicles with 3.0-liter V-6 engines also had the software.

This software allowed cars to detect the conditions of a laboratory emissions test and temporarily adjust emissions to legal limits.

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But in real-world driving these limits were ignored, and in many cases getting cars to comply could require more than just removing the offending software.

The software allowed Volkswagen to sell cars without the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) exhaust aftertreatment systems used by most other manufacturers to meet U.S. emissions standards.

SCR systems use urea fluid injected into the exhaust stream to cut pollutants and require extra hardware, including a tank for the fluid, and plumbing.

2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI

2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI

There are 325,000 2.0-liter cars without SCR that may require the systems in order to meet emissions standards. Other models may only require software updates or less-extensive hardware modifications.

Retrofitting cars with SCR systems expected to cost thousands of dollars per vehicle, and could push recall work into 2017--even if VW starts a recall campaign soon.

Analysts have expressed skepticism over whether such expensive and complex work is worthwhile--as some of the affected cars are already seven years old--and have called for Volkswagen to start a buy-back campaign.

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Volkswagen's exact plans are still unknown, though.

The company submitted a proposed fix for the 2.0-liter cars to the EPA and California Air Resources Board in November, and will reportedly meet with both agencies again this week.

VW needs approval from these agencies before it can begin a recall of the affected diesel cars.


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