CARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols had stern words for the Wolfsburg-based automaker as she delivered news of the rejected plan: “Volkswagen made a decision to cheat on emissions tests and then tried to cover it up”, she said.
To be clear, CARB’s rejection was for a recall plan submitted by VWoA to fix its 2.0-liter diesel engines.
“We’ve been having a large amount of technical discussion back and forth with Volkswagen”, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said when asked about the possibility of VW having to buy back some vehicles. The EPA is pursuing its own enforcement actions against the company. Besides being forced to recall and somehow fix the cars to make them genuinely compliant with emissions rules, VW faces fines of up to $18 billion from US regulators for installing the software on nearly 500,000 USA cars.
The EPA issued a statement Tuesday saying it agreed with the California Air Resources Board’s determination but was operating under federal regulations, which differ in process, requirements and timing than California’s standards.
During the North American International Auto Show on Monday, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Muller said the company had not lied about the installation of software that detected when cars were undergoing emissions testing and then changed their performance metrics.
“It’s up to Volkswagen to live up to its promises and obligations to consumers – and that starts by being honest with the American public, providing regulators with requested documents and coming clean on how they intend to address the very real problems with their vehicles”. “We obviously have a keen interest in getting their legal issues solved so they can go back to selling cars”. Mueller said the problem was a misunderstanding in language, not a deception. The company’s proposed recall plan for those vehicles is due February 2.
USA environmental officials said on Wednesday talks will continue with Volkswagen aimed at reaching an agreement on a fix for almost 600,000 diesel vehicles that emit up to 40 times legally allowable limits.
It also insisted Volkswagen was not moving fast enough to deliver the fix to its half-million affected owners of 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engines in the US.
“Mr. Mueller’s comments are disturbing, especially in light of the company’s continued lack of cooperation with our investigation, and they underscore the importance of our inquiry as well as the investigations launched by other regulators”, Jepson said in a statement Tuesday.