EPA adds Porsche, Audi to VW Dieselgate scandal; recalls grow

The Environmental Protection Agency expanded the VW emissions scandal yesterday when it added 10,000 SUVs and upscale Audi vehicles to the mix.

Dieselgate broadened and deepened today as Audi and Porsche, two of Volkswagen’s six operating subsidiaries, were linked by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the burgeoning diesel emissions scandal. According to USA Today, the VW subsidiaries received a Notice of Violation from the environmental regulator. EPA has recalled 10,000 – possibly more – 2014-2015 and some 2016 Audi and Porsche models. The new recall and emissions violations are on VW’s three-liter, six-cylinder V-6 engine.

EPA tests, in collaboration with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), unearthed the new twist in the month-long scandal that has seen:

· The ouster of VW’s former CEO, Martin Winterkorn

· The suspension of as many as 20 managers and engineers as the automaker conducts an internal probe

· As many as 28 state lawsuits in the United States

· Criminal probes in Germany, France and Italy

· 200 or more consumer lawsuits

The environmental regulator, for the second time, has accused Europe’s largest automaker of installing a “defeat device” in the vehicle’s engine management software. A software switch that looks at various telltales to determine whether a vehicle is in test mode or not. If the telltale – whether traction control is on or off, for example – indicates that the vehicle is in test mode, the software tells the engine to run in “test mode.” This mode enables the engine to meet or exceed emissions regulations. On completion, the engine reverts to “standard mode,” where the vehicle’s mileage and performance increase at the expense of emissions.

VW admitted that it had installed the cheatware on its two-liter diesels a month ago. Until yesterday’s action by the EPA, it had remained silent on the three-liter diesel powerplant. Now, the German automaker has come out swinging. It has vehemently denied installing cheatware – software designed to fool emissions testing equipment – on models affected by the latest recall.

The automaker emphasized that “no software has been installed in the 3-liter Vp-6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner.” A VW spokesman would not elaborate further.

In the EPA’s latest action, VW’s crown jewel, Porsche, has been pulled into the Dieselgate. Indeed, the action also adds Audis to the mix so that now the following vehicles have been affected:

· 2016 Audi A6 Quattro

· 2016 Audi A7 Quattro

· A8 and A8L

· 2014 VW Touareg

· 2015 Porsche Cayenne

· 2016 Audi Q5

According to USA Today, the latest EPA action may cost the automaker another $375 million in penalties for violating the Clean Air Act. “We have clear evidence of these violations, and we thought it was important to put Volkswagen on notice and to inform the public,” Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said. She spoke with reporters in a conference call. The EPA, CARB and Environment Canada discovered the additional cheatware while testing VW vehicles.

EPA recalled 482,000 older Volkswagens a bit more than a month ago because it found evidence of cheatware installed. The scamware used a “defeat device,” similar to that reportedly found on VWs three-liter V-6 engines. In yesterday’s action, 10,000 Porsche, Audi and VW SUVs were recalled, plus a number of upscale Audi cars.

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