PONTIAC (WWJ) – It’s a new use for the disintegrating Silverdome — with repurchased Volkswagen diesel vehicles being stored in the vacant venue’s parking lot.
It’s a peculiar sight to see in Pontiac, as the large lot has been mostly empty since the former home of the Detroit Lions closed for good in 2013.
WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert the Silverdome is just one of many sites that VW is using across the country to store cars it’s buying back from owners. Volkswagen is not commenting, Gilbert said, but he’s been able to confirm that information through other sources.
AutoTrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs said there are a lot of repurchased vehicles coming into the system, and they’re coming quickly.
“They’ve made, I think 266,000 offers,” Krebs said. “They’re hoping they’ll get acceptance on something like the 96,000 of those by the end of January.”
Volkswagen, the federal government and attorneys last spring reached a deal for the automaker to spend just over $1 billion to compensate owners of about 600,000 diesel-powered cars that cheat on emissions tests.
Volkswagen is still working with the EPA and the plan is to fix the vehicles’ emission systems and sell them on the used car market, Krebs said.
In the meantime, drivers by can expect to see more VW diesels stored at the Silverdome — a place Gilbert says company executives would be very familiar with because a lot of work to buy back the cars is being done not far away at their office in Auburn Hills.
The Lions left the Silverdome in 2001 for Ford Field, the venue closed in 2006, and Pontiac sold the stadium at auction in 2009. It reopened in 2010 and hosted several events, but closed again three years later.
Officials announced in 2015 that the Silverdome would be demolished.