A scrappage scheme in Germany launched by Volkswagen to take the dirtiest diesels off the road has been extended beyond its planned end date of this month.
Two years after the diesel emissions scandal that cost it over $25 billion, Volkswagen is extending an incentive program aimed at owners of diesels certified under the older Euro 1 through Euro 4 standards.
The program—which is open to Germans scrapping vehicles of all makes, not just Volkswagens—has been extended through March 31, 2018.
In a release from Volkswagen, the company said nearly 70,000 buyers have taken advantage of the program, which offers €2,000 to €10,000 ($2,400 to $12,000) toward the purchase of eligible VW vehicles when scrapping an older, dirtier diesel.
The program further incentivizes the purchase of an electric, hybrid, or natural-gas vehicle with additional bonuses of €1,000 to €2,380 ($1,200 to $2,800).
VW said that more than 8 percent of buyers opted for an all-electric vehicle, requiring the addition of a second shift to produce Volkswagen e-Golf hatchbacks at the "Transparent Factory" in Dresden where they are built.
However, Volkswagen has changed the program slightly, reducing incentives on popular Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace, and Touran models by €1,000 beginning January 1, 2018.
While the extended program is expected to end on March 31, 2018, Volkswagen may extend it again depending on popularity.
The original incentive campaign was the result of a "Diesel National Forum" summit meeting held among automakers and government authorities.
The automakers—Volkswagen, Opel, Mercedes-Benz, and Fiat (including Alfa Romeo and Jeep)—all agreed to incentivize the purchase of newer, cleaner vehicles for owners of older, dirtier Euro 1 through Euro 4 cars.
Euro 5 and Euro 6 cars are not part of Volkswagen's scrappage program, as those vehicles can be reprogrammed to reduce NOx emissions.
Not all owners of newer cars are happy with the reprogramming solution: One owner wrote to the Guardian to complain about his reprogrammed Golf TDI, saying it had "become almost undriveable since the work was done."