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VW refuses to rule out UK emissions scandal

Date: 21 September 2015   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

The Volkswagen Group has refused to rule out the possibility that vehicles in the UK and Europe could also be affected by the emerging scandal in America where certain diesel models have reportedly been programmed to trick emission-testing software, which has sparked a recall of half a million cars in America.

This comes after America's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s discoveries of a device that disguised pollution levels, helping vehicles to pass lab testing even though they actually emit up to 40 times the emission limit in the US.

The EPA found the device in diesel cars including the Audi A3, VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat models.

According to the EPA, the fine for each vehicle that does not comply with clean air rules could be up to $37,500 (£24,000), meaning that the totals could reach $18bn.

Volkswagen has stopped selling the affected vehicles in America, and has ordered an independent investigation.

A Volkswagen UK spokeswoman refused to comment when asked by BusinessCar whether UK vehicles are affected by the EPA's discoveries.

"I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public," Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen said in a statement. "We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law."

"The trust of our customers and the public is and continues to be our most important asset," he added.

"Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health," 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."

Hagens Berman, an American law firm, is launching a class-action lawsuit against VW on behalf of people who bought the affected cars.

The US models cited by the law firm are the diesel versions of:

  • Jetta (2009 - 2015)
  • Beetle (2009 - 2015)
  • Audi A3 (2009 - 2015)
  • Golf (2009 - 2015)
  • Passat (2014 - 2015)

"While Volkswagen tells consumers that its diesel cars meet California emissions standards, vehicle owners are duped into paying for vehicles that do not meet this standard and unknowingly pay more for quality they never receive," the firm alleged.