File picture: John MacDougall / AFP.

Wolfsburg - Authorised Volkswagen garages in Germany are facing a logistical nightmare in the coming weeks as the carmaker prepares for its mass recall of diesel cars fitted with emissions-manipulation software.

The first recall letters are expected to reach customers next week, with the actual recalls expected at the end of January.

VW has 2173 partner garages authorised to do the work nationwide. With 2.4 million cars being recalled, this means an average of 1100 vehicles per garage.

Experts say it will take at least 90 minutes to refit an affected car, including the time it takes to do the paperwork.

Other authorised service garages are to deal with cars made by other VW-owned brands in the form of Audi, Seat and Skoda as well as commercial vehicles.

'Nothing wrong with SA-market VWs'

The first VW customers to receive a recall letter starting on Monday are owners of the Amarok pickup truck. These drivers should expect to take their cars to the garage from end of January.

Following the Amaroks, VW is planning to recall Passats. That will happen in February, at the earliest. It was not immediately clear when its top-selling Golf model would be recalled. VW plans to inform car owners closer to the time, it said.

The diesel emissions scandal involves up to 11 million vehicles worldwide, some 2.4 million of those have been sold in Germany alone.

The cars are to be recalled in several stages during the course of the year.

While some cars only need to have their software updated, other will need to have a tube and a grid fitted.

“We offer all affected customers free and adequate replacement transport,” VW said.

VW said in October it was setting aside 6.7 billion euros (R120bn) to cover the costs of the scandal involving its diesel models. However, costs could spiral even higher due to a civil lawsuit filed against the carmaker by the US government.

The company has lost about one-third of its stock value since admitting in September to installing software in several of its diesel-powered models aimed at cheating on emissions tests around the world.

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