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Audi, Skoda add to VW diesel saga woes

All in: Numbers continue to rise in ‘Dieselgate’ saga, as Audi and Skoda add several million to worldwide total.

VW Group brands confess to diddled diesel ECUs, former CEO faces criminal charges

Volkswagen logo29 Sep 2015

THE crisis enveloping the Volkswagen Group has deepened, with Audi and Skoda admitting to the presence of several million vehicles fitted with hidden ECU software designed to provide false emissions readings under standard testing procedures.

More than 2.1 million diesel-powered Audis globally are affected, while 1.2 million Skodas are under the spotlight.

Of the Audis affected, more than 500,000 were sold in Germany, with some 12,000 sold in the United States. The EA189 engine/Bosch EDC16 ECU combination was fitted to a wide range of Audis, including A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5.

Skoda’s Yeti and Octavia range also used the turbo-diesel in question.

Additional models from Volkswagen may also be swept up in the net, including Polo and Up light cars.

VW has stated that five million of its cars are affected, and 11 million in total are under question. This leaves nearly three million vehicles unaccounted for, according to the company’s own estimates. Other diesel-powered Volkswagens, including the Amarok, have so far escaped scrutiny.

The US, Italy and Switzerland have stopped sales of the affected models.

Again, no figures for the Australian market have been provided. The issue is clouded by the fact that each market around the world specifies different states of tune for various engine combinations, and isolating the vehicles with the bugged ECUs is not a straightforward process.

Australia, for example, often receives vehicles that have been subject to a ‘hot-weather’ ECU tune, which changes power and emissions outputs.

Meanwhile, the German prosecutor’s office in the Lower Saxony town of Braunschweig has commenced inquiries into the actions of former VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn. Under German law, any individual or company is permitted to lodge a criminal complaint against another individual, which the office is then obliged to follow up.

Mr Winterkorn will be investigated for “allegations of fraud in the sale of cars with manipulated emissions data”, according to the office. More than a dozen complaints have been received, including one from Volkswagen itself.

The investigation compounds the legal woes for Volkswagen, which is under orders to provide the German Federal Motor Transport Authority with a schedule to rectify the affected cars by October 7. If the company fails to satisfy the government regulator, all affected cars may be subject to an immediate recall.

In the United States, it has been revealed that Volkswagen US recalled the cars in question twice in five months to attempt to fix the issue. Cars fitted with 2.0-litre diesel engines were recalled in December 2014 for a software update, before being recalled again in April 2015 to further amend the update.

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