VW has admitted to American regulators that a defeat device exists in some of its 2.0 litre diesel cars
American emissions regulators had been in touch with their European counterparts ahead of announcing infringements of emissions regulations in the US by Audi and VW, it has emerged.
In the UK, VW is expected to soon issue a formal statement about its cars here.
The American concerns about whether some VW and Audi 2.0 litre diesel cars had their controls adjusted to breach emissions testings, today prompted an outright apology and expression of remorse from the very top of the German-owned car manufacturing giant.
Car maker VW’s chief executive Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn issued an apology today (September 21) for “violationsâ€? of rules which now appear to have involved some of the company’s diesel cars in the United States having been adopted to overcome the testing.
The apology comes after last Friday (September 18) the Air Resources Board of California wrote to Volkswagen AG and Audi AG explaining that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regularly tests cars to check their emissions performance is as expected and also “performs investigative testing if warranted.â€?
CARB told VW that it had been in touch with its European counterparts concerning “high in-use emissions from light duty dieselsâ€?.
CARB said it and the US Environmental Protection Agency was made aware of concerns about elevated oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in real world driving. This prompted an investigation into high Nox emissions observed on 2.0 litre diesel vehicles.
The CARB said that VW admitted in early September 2015 “that it has, since model year 2009, employed a defeat device to circumvent CARB and the EPA emission test procedures.â€?
|Affected diesel models include:|
|• Jetta (Model Years 2009 – 2015)|
|• Beetle (Model Years 2009 – 2015)|
|• Audi A3 (Model Years 2009 – 2015)|
|• Golf (Model Years 2009 – 2015)|
|• Passat (Model Years 2014-2015)|
CARB notes that in 2015, 500,000 VW cars were recalled for recalibation of lean Nox trap technology and selectrive catalytic reduction technology.
Following on from this, more work was carried out by CARB and it lead to a meeting on September 3 2015 where VW admitted that the vehicles were “designed and manufactured with a defeat device to bypass, defeat or render inoperative elements of the vehicles’ emission control system.â€?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (EPA and CARB) revealed their findings that while testing diesel cars of the Volkswagen Group they have detected manipulations that violate American environmental standards.
Today’s apology from VW saw Prof Winterkorn state: “The Board of Management at Volkswagen AG takes these findings very seriously. I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public. We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case. Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation of this matter.
“We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law.”
Prof Winterkorn added: “The trust of our customers and the public is and continues to be our most important asset. We at Volkswagen will do everything that must be done in order to re-establish the trust that so many people have placed in us, and we will do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage this has caused. This matter has first priority for me, personally, and for our entire Board of Management.”
EPA is issuing a notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (collectively referred to as Volkswagen). The NOV alleges that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. California is separately issuing an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen, and EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have both initiated investigations based on Volkswagen’s alleged actions.
“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,â€? said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.â€?
“Working with US EPA we are taking this important step to protect public health thanks to the dogged investigations by our laboratory scientists and staff,â€? said Air Resources Board Executive Officer Richard Corey. “Our goal now is to ensure that the affected cars are brought into compliance, to dig more deeply into the extent and implications of Volkswagen’s efforts to cheat on clean air rules, and to take appropriate further action.â€?
VW could now face huge fines for its actions and the American revelations will also add to the controversy currently surrounding diesel cars and their emissions in Europe.