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Volkswagen diesel owners to get $1,000 in gift cards

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Michael Probst/AP/File

(Read caption) A dealer familiar with Volkswagen's plans says the automaker intends to offer $1,000 in gift cards and vouchers to owners of smaller diesel cars as a gesture of goodwill to owners with 2-liter four-cylinder diesel engines that have been implicated in an emissions cheating scandal. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

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Volkswagen's Dieselgate scandal grows more trainwreck-y with every passing day. The company's financial problems are mounting, and may mount much, much further

And so, Volkswagen appears to have come up with a plan to stanch the loss of money and customers -- a plan straight out of the Oprah Winfrey playbook. Inside sources report that VW dealers received word last Thursday that the company will offer two gift cards to TDI owners via a new "TDI Goodwill Program".

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Card #1 is a $500 prepaid gift card, good anywhere. Card #2 is worth up to $750, redeemable only at VW dealerships -- presumably for the purchase of a new VW.

If the sources are correct (and FWIW, the reports have been confirmed byseveral media outlets) the card offer will be made to any owner of a "clean diesel" vehicle, no matter whether they purchased the car new or used. Presumably, however, that vehicle will need to have been equipped with Volkswagen's emissions-test-cheating software. Also, to activate the card, owners will need to visit a VW dealership with proof of vehicle ownership. A list of vehicles associated with the "TDI Goodwill Program" is rumored to be available at VWDieselInfo.com later today.

Worldwide, there are some 11 million 2.0-liter vehicles equipped with Volkswagen's illegal software, including models from sub-brands Seat and Skoda. Here in the U.S., the list includes:

  • 2009–2015 Audi A3 TDI
  • 2009–2015 VW Beetle TDI
  • 2009–2015 VW Beetle Convertible TDI
  • 2009–2015 VW Golf TDI
  • 2015 VW Golf Sportwagen TDI
  • 2009–2015 VW Jetta TDI
  • 2009-2014 VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI
  • 2012–2015 VW Passat TDI

The list of 3.0-liter Volkswagen models accused of skirting regulations in the U.S. includes:

  • 2016 Audi A6 Quattro
  • 2016 Audi A7 Quattro
  • 2016 Audi A8
  • 2016 Audi A8L
  • 2016 Audi Q5 
  • 2015 Porsche Cayenne 
  • 2014 VW Touareg 

According to reports, the gift card program will be limited to vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines, but it could expand in short order. There's no clarification on whether the cards will be offered to VW owners only, or if Audi A3 owners affected by the scandal will benefit, too. 

Stay tuned for details.