VW sold pre-production test vehicles for years rather than crush them


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VW sold pre-production test vehicles for years rather than crush them
'It's a gigantic mistake': Thousands sold to unwitting customers since 2006


Automotive industry practice has long dictated that test cars will not make their way into the hands of customers. Rather, pre-production cars, test mules and cars like that will be retained by the factory and unceremoniously crushed. Even some press cars have the same fate, as they can be pre-production specification and vary from the final product. However, it appears that Volkswagen has bent the rules somewhat.

The German Handelsblatt is reporting that Volkswagen sold some 6,700 test vehicles in Europe and the U.S, and the report was confirmed by a VWspokesperson. The pre-production vehicles were made to "test and showcase" new models before official series production, and they should have been scrapped as they were not officially authorized to be on the road. But as it turns out, they were sold as used cars instead. Some 4,000 of these cars were sold in Germany, from 2006 to 2018, meaning the practice went on until recently. Handelsblatt cites an industry representative as saying, "It's a gigantic mistake."

Der Spiegel reported on Friday that current Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess was made aware of the practice in mid-2016, but it took this long to stop. The cars have now been recalled, with VW citing safety concerns, and reports say that while some of the vehicles are hardly different from the final mass-produced models, some of them can differ from series production cars quite clearly, making it more difficult to maintain them in the long run. And reportedly there wasn't clear documentation regarding every particular car's variance from series production, hindering possible compliance even further.

Der Spiegel also says that as many as 17,000 Volkswagen test cars were sold to customers, but VW only confirmed 6,700, as that amount was recalled. The matter didn't extend to other VW brands like Audi, just Volkswagen. German authorities are now deciding how to handle the issue, and whether the carmaker will be fined some thousands of euros per affected car.



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I remember back in the late 1970's going to a Jeep dealer and he had some weird used Jeep one off's in the Jeep line.
like a Jeep CJ7 with vent windows and power windows, factory installed 360's, a wagoneer with a 401 and a 4 speed, 401 with auto and a Dana 20 transfer case, a Jeep pickup J3000 short bed.. etc (stuff Jeep never made standard equipment) and I asked the dealer and he replied those were all factory used vehicles that Jeep allowed him to buy for resale.

So I guess at one time every manufacturer did it.

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