While most offices across the U.S. are probably winding down operation ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, employees of Volkswagen AG and its subsidiaries Audi AG and Porsche AG got a message through the mail that won’t be making them feel particularly thankful this season.
That’s because the message delivered this morning from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) notified all three automakers that the government agency has determined that each and every Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche made between 2009 and 2015 and fitted with Volkswagen’s 3.0-litreV-6 diesel engine is in violation of California’s strict emissions regulations.
Consequently, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche are expected each to submit a recall plan, detailing how each plans to bring non-compliant vehicles to the ‘claimed certified configurations’ which do meet California’s standards, within the next 45 business days.
The notice is the latest in a long line of non-compliance letters issued to Volkswagen and its associated brands following the discovery earlier on this year that certain model year 2.0-litre diesel engined cars made between 2009 and 2015 included a piece of software purposely designed to cheat tough emissions regulations.
When tested on a dynamometer, the software inside these car’s engine control units ensured emissions were in compliance with Federal and state regulations. When driven on the road however, the same software ignored all emissions control regulations, emitting up to 40 times the legal limit for Nitrogen Oxides (NOx). In total, some 482,000 vehicles fitted with that 2.0-litre diesel engine are believed to be in noncompliance
Volkswagen submitted plans CARB and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday last week detailing how it proposed to fix those vehicles, but at the moment the content of those proposals are being withheld from the public.
It will need to repeat that process for the affected 3.0-litre V-6 TDI engines, but due to the way in which the engines are built, Volkswagen will not simply be able to duplicate its proposed solution for the smaller 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines. in order to meet with compliance.
As the official notice from CARB details, during meetings with CARB last week, Audi AG representatives confirmed that 3.0-litre V-6 diesel engines used in the Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7 contain previously undisclosed Auxiliary Emission Control Devices (AECDs) designed to cheat tough emissions testing.
The engine, designed by Audi for use in its own vehicles, has been shared across the Volkswagen Group for use in both the VW TDI and Porsche TDI vehicles.
“While some AECDs which are disclosed to CARB as required and meet certain requirements may be approved during the certification process, failur to disclose and obtain ARB approval for AECDs prior to certification of products is a violation of law, including Health and Safety Code section 43211 and California Code of Regulations title 13, section 1903,” CARB details in its letter. “An AECD may also may also be considered a defeat device and an additional violation.”
For Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche, the discovery of this new noncompliant engine will further damage the reputation of all three brands. Indeed, with a long line of requirements to meet before the its official Recall Plan can be submitted to CARB, we suspect Volkswagen will have a very unhappy holidays indeed.
To read the letter for yourself, you’ll find it on CARB’s website, which details all the steps which must be undertaken in the next 45 business days. In the meantime, if you’re thinking of buying a new Volkswagen diesel, you may want to think twice.
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