VW diesel recalls delayed in Europe on fuel-consumption checks

FRANKFURT — Volkswagen Group’s diesel recall is being delayed in Germany because the automaker’s fix for rigged engines results in higher fuel consumption, reports said.

VW began recalling its Amarok pickup truck with emissions-cheating 2.0-liter diesel engines in January to make them compliant with type approval law. The recall was the first stage in a Europewide action to fix 8.5 million VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat models with engines altered to fool tests for harmful NOx emissions.

The second wave of diesel recalls of about 160,000 VW Passat midsize models has been halted, German media reports said.

A VW spokesman confirmed the delay but said that reports that this is due to a rise in fuel consumption following changes to the Passat’s engine software were “speculation.”

He said authorities are still checking whether the change affects CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. “We have to guarantee that noise and especially CO2 emissions are exactly the same as before the fix,” the spokesman told Automotive News Europe.

He said the checks conducted by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) were due to be concluded before Easter, but would now likely end next week or the week after.

A decision by the KBA to replace VW technicians with independent technicians part way through testing had also delayed the recall, the spokesman said. The move had been made to ensure exactness in the testing process, he said.

Audi, Skoda recalls

The next recall will include the Passat models and 90,000 Audi A4, A5 and Skoda Superb vehicles, the spokesman said. All are fitted with 2.0-liter engines. Seat models will be included in later recalls, the spokesman added.

VW plans to recall about 2.5 million diesel cars in Germany with 2.0-liter, 1.6-liter and 1.2-liter Euro 5 diesel engines that have manipulated software. The 2.0- and 1.2-liter engines will get a software upgrade that requires about 30 minutes of labor time. The 1.6-liter engine will require the installation of a piece of mesh to regulate air flow in addition to a software upgrade, a process that VW said will take less than an hour.

Recalls will be rolled out to the European Union’s other 27 member states following KBA approval, the spokesman said. VW aims to conduct 13 separate recalls this year, he said.

In the U.S., where VW’s emissions cheating was initially uncovered, regulators have given the automaker until April 21 to reach a fix covering about 600,000 vehicles.