The US Environmental Protection Agency has added a new Volkswagen Group engine and several more models to the list of vehicles it says were equipped with the emissions cheating device.
The additional charges for the first time pull VW’s subsidiary Porsche into the frame. The diesel engine is the 3.0-litre V6, used in the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Macan, Audi Q5, Q7, Audi A6, A7 and A8.
The distributor in New Zealand for VW Group vehicles is seeking a response from VW headquarters in Germany to the new charges.
“We will be talking to them to find out more about this,” said Glynn Tulloch, group manager for importers European Motor Distributors.
The EPA said the V6 diesel engine spewed emissions of nitrogen oxide up to nine times the EPA standard, a violation of the US Clean Air Act.
“VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law to protect clean air for all America,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
Giles said the EPA and the California Air Resources Board discovered the cheating devices on 3.0-litre vehicles through the testing programme, adding that they had “clear evidence” of the violations.
VW designed the software to have the 3.0-litre engine run on two modes: “temperature conditioning” – the cheating mode – and “normal mode,” Giles said.
The car reverted to normal mode “exactly one second” after the software detected that EPA testing conditions had stopped, Giles said.
The emissions scandal first broke in September, when VW admitted that it installed cheat software on its 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesel engines coded EA189.
The so-called ‘dieselgate’ is starting to take its toll on the VW Group. The company has reported its first quarterly loss in over 15 years, an almost $NZ2.8 billion slump in earnings after setting aside around $NZ11 billion to cover the emissions scandal.
Meanwhile, Sydney law firm Bannister Law has filed class actions on behalf of the owners of VW, Skoda and Audi vehicles in Australia. It claims the owners of the vehicles affected by the emissions problem may be entitled to their money back.
“A part of the claim in each class action is that both VW and Audi guaranteed, under the consumer laws, that the vehicles were fit for their purpose, and free from defects,” said the firm’s founder and principal Charles Bannister.
“In supplying cars containing the defeat device, the statutory guarantee was not complied with. If we’re successful on that part of the claim, the customer may be entitled to a refund of the purchase price.”