The German government has taken Volkswagen's diesel malfeasance very seriously, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that it might ban recall-avoiding VWs from the road entirely.
The KBA, Germany's federal motor vehicle authority, said drivers who ignore fixes for over-polluting Volkswagen Group diesel vehicles might have their vehicles removed from the road, Automotive News Europe reports, citing a report from the German publication Automobilwoche. Already, several vehicles have had their registrations rescinded after ignoring multiple requests to have the vehicles updated to comply with emissions regulations.
Other vehicles remain at risk for deregistration, according to Automobilwoche, but the government has offered a grace period to help prevent that outcome. In a statement to Automotive News Europe, the KBA reiterated that the VW Group diesel recall is compulsory, not optional, and that owners have had well over a year to get the fixed applied.
Thankfully, this isn't a crazy-big issue around Germany. Automotive News Europe points to a KBA statement, which says that 95 percent of the 2.46 million affected diesels in Germany have already been recalled through June, and only 0.6 percent have been referred to municipal governments for deregistration.
In 2015, Volkswagen willingly admitted to skirting emissions regulations around the world using "defeat devices" that curbed emissions only in testing environments. Once on the road, the vehicles would pollute more than the law permits. VW got slapped with lawsuits and had some very angry governments breathing down its neck, and it went to work creating hardware and software fixes to make up for the hell VW created for itself.
VW got luckier in Germany than in the US. In 2016, the KBA approved a series of software-related fixes for three different diesel engines, meaning getting the recall done is about as easy as sitting at a dealer for an hour. In the US, the courts forced Volkswagen into a complex series of buybacks, one-time cash disbursements and both hardware and software fixes. The recalls are not compulsory in the US, but if VW doesn't fix enough of its own vehicles, it could be subject to additional fines. The company has paid some $30 billion in the US alone handling Dieselgate's fallout.