In the past couple years, at a cost of at least $3000, VW has twice obliterated any rust out on my 2003 Golf TDI. Yup, VW is crazy enough to offer a 12 year rust warranty here in the rust belt, where nothing ferrous makes it anywhere near 12 years without oxidizing. Even gave me a free loaner car, and last time ’twas an Audi to boot! When I picked up the 2003 last summer from the latest repair, I told ’em “see you in 10 years with the 2013″… But looks like I’ve won the VW lottery again already.

Now my 2013 Golf Variant (Sportswagon for us North Americans) TDI is of course one of 400,000 of the infamous emissions “cheaters” that VW has to bring into compliance and/or pay something like a $37,000 PER VEHICLE fine. That means my little TDI “truck” is probably going to get the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) emission control system it should have had in the first place, gratis. The result should be better MPG, from 40 and even unheard of (for VW diesels that ain’t towin’ somethin’ big) high 30s MPG to the normal mid 40s TDI MPG. But it’s taking a while for VW to figure out where to put the DEF tank, get the EPA’s blessing, and get all the parts built and installed to pull off this six figure recall.

In the meantime a few TDI owners who worry too much about abstract concepts like “resale value” have been going nuts, egged on by dim bulb environmentalists who think we should get bought out for 100% of original retail price, fantasizing that we’ll take the cash straight over to the Nissan or at least Chevy dealer and by a Leaf electric or at least short range Volt electric with backup gas motor car. Go ahead. make my day!… I’ve got my eye on the new Chevy Colorado diesel, which puts even more of a dent in the environment than the TDI. But no way can even a cash cow like VW buy back millions of cars.

So to quell these nervous Nellies, VW is offering a $1000 “Goodwill Package” to owners of the affected TDIs, consisting of a $500 debit card usable only at VW dealers, a $500 debit card good anywhere Visa is good, and 3 years of “roadside assistance” for those that haven’t learned to work jumper cables and change tires, or maybe lost their keys in the whorehouse where they spent the “good anywhere” money. Having waited till the Firestone tire recall was almost over on my Ranger so I could milk every millimeter of treadwear of the “bad” Firestones before I cashed in and got the replacement free Goodyears from Ford, I’m already gaming this one out… The cards only good for a year, and the 2013’s got 35k miles and 3 years of warranty left, and VW foots the bill for the 30K service. Got a year to pickup the cards. maybe hold off and use the dealer card for the pricey 40k service? And heck, don’t even have to use the card for the 2013, can always use it to buy goodies for the 2003 that “honestly” pollutes more than the 2013 “cheater”. Heck, VW is giving the dealers a $2k kickback on used affected TDIs, which means a ratty 2009 Jetta with the help of the $2k dealer kickback could be cheaply acquired which would then entitle me to another “$1k goodwill package”… I need to prowl the back of a few VW dealers lots!

Now with all this “free stuff” being laid on by VW, one would think the political party blamed for all the “free stuff” would thank VW, and maybe even offer a tax break for all the crocodile tears “pain and suffering” I’m going through. But said party is also the party of environmental excess at times, and sure enough a couple of senators promptly called VW’s gift inadaquate and demanded full price buybacks.

Buybacks? Heck, I’m lookin’ to build up my fleet with more of these “undervalued” TDIs!