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California rejects VW Group V6 diesel fix plans

Pushed back: US legislators says they will not be able to make a call on VW’s proposal until December due to a lack of data.

Surprise US ruling sends Volkswagen back to drawing board to amend V6 diesel plans

Volkswagen logo15 Jul 2016

By TIM ROBSON

VOLKSWAGEN Group has suffered a major setback in the ongoing diesel emissions crisis, with California’s head air regulator this week rejecting its 10-point plan to repair 16,000 V6 diesel-powered vehicles in the US.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) said that the VW Group’s proposals to repair the cars are not up to scratch, despite the two parties having been in negotiations since February.

“VW’s and Audi’s submissions are incomplete, substantially deficient and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles to the claimed certified configuration,” CARB said in a letter to the company’s US offices.

It claims that Volkswagen has failed to adequately describe the nonconformities of the defeat devices fitted to the V6 engines in Audi, Porsche and VW products, failed to adequately describe the remedial procedures and failed to provide diagnostic system demonstration data.

The board also accuses Volkswagen of providing plans that CARB could not check for technical feasibility, or could act upon quickly.

“CARB, in conjunction with the EPA, will continue the ongoing technical discussions with VW and Audi to evaluate their proposals through the enforcement action process,” said CARB’s chief emissions compliance officer Annette Herbert.

The board has already secured a $US86 million ($A119 million) commitment from Volkswagen, on top of the almost $A20 billion settlement reached with the Environmental Protection Agency last month to compensate owners of four-cylinder diesel cars.

The latest setback is now likely to push any decisions around remedial work for the affected vehicles, which include the Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7 sold between 2009 and 2016, back to the end of the year.

Volkswagen initially denied that the V6s were fitted with emissions test-dodging software, which was capable of delivering a false low reading of emissions – notably oxides of nitrogen (NOx) – during testing procedures.

If Volkswagen cannot convince the US regulatory boards that the V6s can be brought into line with US emissions laws, it may be forced to buy back the affected vehicles, adding a further several billion dollars to a bill that could well surpass $A25 billion worldwide.

Despite owners V6-powered VW products in Australia joining class actions against Volkswagen, the group insists that no V6 diesel engines sold locally are affected by the issue.

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