One British advertiser is understood to have acquired close to £1 million worth of ad space, chiefly outdoor, at close to 15p in the pound.
VW has already had to drop some ads that boasted about its low level of emissions and were due to run in the weeks after the scandal broke last month over rigged emission-testing software.
The troubled car-maker is also thought to have pre-booked further inventory in the run-up to Christmas that it has now cancelled as it faces multiple legal investigations and prepares to recall millions of cars.
VW may not have to write off all of the cancelled adspend. One media source said the client had a genuine reason for scrapping the campaign and media owners were likely to honour at least some of the commitment at a later date because VW is a big advertiser.
The car giant and its media agency, MediaCom, did not comment.
VW called a global media buying review earlier this year.