ARB rejects VW recall plans as inadequate, issues NOV instead

Your Emails: What You Need to Know About the VW Emissions Scandal

Responding to one of the more egregious air pollution crimes in history, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) flexed its regulatory muscle Tuesday and rejected Volkswagen’s proposed recall plans for 2.0-liter diesel passenger vehicles sold in California between 2009 and 2015. The subject vehicles were discovered to have defeat devices installed that would turn off required air pollution control systems except when the vehicles were undergoing mandatory testing. In addition, a formal Notice of Violation (NOV) was issued.

In a letter signed by Executive Officer Richard W. Corey, ARB formally notified VW that its previously submitted recall plans were inadequate because the plans:

  • Contained gaps and lacked sufficient detail.
  • Had inadequate descriptions of proposed repairs and information to technically evaluate them.
  • Inadequately addresed the overall impacts on vehicle performance, emissions, and safety.

Copies of the letter, the plan rejection, and the NOV were released to the public as well.

Today’s action did not address VW’s similar problems with certain 3.0-liter diesel passenger vehicles. Those will be addressed in a separate action.

Although an NOV was issued today, no monetary penalties were proposed. ARB indicated that those will be forthcoming depending upon VW’s response and ARB’s continuing investigation and evaluation, which is being done in conjunction with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That evaluation will include analyses of how, or whether, the vehicles may be modified so as to meet legally required emission levels and to determine mitigations for environmental damages.

“Volkswagen made a decision to cheat on emissions tests and then tried to cover it up,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “They continued and compounded the lie and when they were caught they tried to deny it. The result is thousands of tons of nitrogen oxide that have harmed the health of Californians. They need to make it right. Today’s action is a step in the direction of assuring that will happen.”

Over 75,000 of the following vehicles and model years (MY) sold in California were affected by today’s actions:

  • VW Jetta SportWagen (MY 2009 – 2014)
  • Audi A3 (MY 2010 – 2013, 2015)
  • VW Beetle (MY 2013 – 2015)
  • VW Beetle Convertible (MY 2013 – 2015)
  • VW Golf (MY 2010 – 2015)
  • VW Jetta (MY 2009 – 2015)
  • VW Passat (MY 2012 – 2015)
  • VW Golf SportWagen (MY 2015)