VW halting US sales of diesel models after accusation of cheating emissions test

VW group cars

The Volkswagen Group is halting the sales of some diesel cars in the US after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused VW and Audi of using software in their cars that bypasses emissions testing standards.

The US environmental standards agency report claims four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars sold in the US from 2009 to 2015 include a sophisticated software algorithm to fool emissions tests. The algorithm is said to detect when the vehicle is being tested for emissions levels and only then turns the full emissions controls on.

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The result is cars that meet emissions standards under laboratory conditions, but when unplugged from the testing rigs, the EPA claims they emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) up to 40 times the legal 0.044g NOx/km fleet average limit. Each new car sold in Europe must meet the new Euro 6 limits of 0.080g NOx/km. 

The allegations cover roughly 482,000-diesel passenger cars sold in the US since 2008, with the affected models including the VW Golf, Jetta, Beetle, and Passat as well as the Audi A3

Audi A3 Saloon front cornering

It is estimated the VW Group will face a near £12billion fine for using the software. 

A VW spokesman said the Group is halting the sale of some of their diesel cars, while Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG said: “I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public.

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“We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case. Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation of this matter.”

The Volkswagen Group’s share prices have fallen nearly 20 per cent since the allegations began. Similar diesel woes were published earlier this month when Transport & Environment said just one in 10 new diesel cars meets the new Euro 6 emissions standard. 

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