Curious Colorado: Why are all those cars parked near PPIR?

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As you head south of Colorado Springs on Interstate 25, off exit 122, you can’t help but notice what appears to be a growing parking lot of cars.

Row upon row they sit. Hundreds and hundreds of perfect-looking sedans line the landscape at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Track manager Jared Thompson said he didn’t have the liberty to tell us where the cars came from, nor how long they would be there.

“We can’t give you any information,” Thompson said. “Sorry I can’t help you.”

He gave us a Boston phone number, but our calls were not answered or returned.

Upon closer inspection, you can see every vehicle is a Volkswagen. So we took our questions to the local VW dealers.

Corrina Couchman is the designated Volkswagen TDI ambassador. She told us it’s all part of the automaker’s buyback program.

“Those are all going to be the TDI turn-ins,” she said. “I’m not sure if it’s all of Colorado, but those are all of the turn-ins we received so far.”

Volkswagen agreed to pay $15 billion in a settlement with the EPA after an investigation revealed they were cheating emissions with a sophisticated device. It would bypass the emissions to give the car better performance without the emission requirements. A computer software program would detect if it the car was being tested for emissions, then kick in the necessary hardware.

“[Volkswagen dealership] Bob Penkhus has already gotten over 1,000 turn-ins of Volkswagen customers turning in their cars,” Couchman said.

We also reached out to Volkswagen of America, who issued this statement:

“Under the settlement, Volkswagen has agreed to buy back, terminate leases, or provide emissions modifications for nearly 475,000 diesel cars in the United States and provide cash payments to owners.”

Steve Lehto is a lemon law attorney in Michigan who hosts his own YouTube channel. He speaks about a variety of car-related subjects, including the VW scandal.

“This is a heck of a deal. I suggest take the money and run and be happy,” he said.

Volkswagen is offering owners the vehicle’s pre-scandal trade-in value, plus a cash payout between $5,100 and $10,000.

This isn’t the only place this is happening. Cars are piling up in Detroit, where the former Lions’ Pontiac Silverdome sits. Cars are also sitting in Illinois.

There’s no telling how long these lots will be full.  At least, they don’t seem to know on a local level.

“Basically, it’s a waiting game with VW,” Couchman said. “They have allowed themselves until May of 2018. So, it’s a guessing game for the next years.”

If you haven’t seen the lot yet, you’ll probably notice it over the next few months. Those cars aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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