A spokesman for VW, which is Europe's biggest car manufacturer, said that it was possible that “a considerable proportion” of the cars, which were fresh off the production line, had been damaged by huge hail stones at the end of July at the Wolfsburg plant.
“We will only ship cars that are 100 percent,” he added. Vehicles with less obvious damage will be repaired, while others will have to be scrapped.
Customers who have already ordered a car that was damaged by the hail will have to wait for a new one which could take some time.
Volkswagen has insurance against such damage, but the logistical consequences are enormous. Thousands of customers have to be informed and each of the 17,000 cars will have to be thoroughly checked requiring lots of manpower.
In 2008, a hailstorm damaged 30,000 brand new cars at the VW plant in Emden, Lower Saxony.