Germany to retest VW cars for emissions
German Transport Ministry will redo CO2 and NOx tests across four VW AG brand vehicles
Germany will retest all current Volkswagen Group cars sold in the country to gauge their actual emissions levels after this week’s revelation by the automaker that some 800,000 gas and diesel cars may exceed advertised levels of CO2, Reuters reports.
The move by the Transport Ministry comes on the heels of a disclosure by the automaker that several 1.4-liter and 1.6-liter diesel engines, in addition to at least one gasoline engine in Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda and SEAT cars could be producing higher levels of CO2 than stated. The disclosure came after VW itself instituted a program of retesting cars for emissions, a move taken as part of an internal investigation by the company following the revelations of emissions-cheating software in 2.0-liter diesel engines in late September of this year.
VW has pointed out that the CO2 issue is not a mechanical fault with the cars themselves, but rather an “inconsistency” that is believed to be the result of inaccurate emissions testing. As such, a recall for the 800,000 cars is not currently planned. The majority of the affected vehicles were sold in Europe, and no recalls in the U.S. are expected.
German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt announced that all VW AG models spanning four brands will be tested by the government for NOx and CO2 emissions, an upgrade from plans to only test current models for NOx emissions. Dobrindt placed the number of cars with false CO2 ratings at 200,000 units in Germany alone, out of a total of 800,000 in Europe.
The levels of CO2 emissions by vehicles in Europe are tied to the level of their taxation at the time of purchase per EU regulations, with VW AG estimating its financial exposure as a result of these discrepancies at 2 billion euros, which is approximately $2.2 billion.
The crisis is placing pressure on the German government to act, as the number of models and engines that have come under suspicion continues to grow. Some 11 million cars are thought to be affected by emissions-cheating software in Europe, compared to just 482,000 in the U.S. The government of Germany finds itself between calls to crack down on automakers and the desire to limit damage to the automotive industry, which is the backbone of the German economy. A number of analysts have noted that fallout from the diesel crisis could take the form of job losses, a prospect federal politicians wish to avoid.