California rejects Volkswagen recall plan
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has rejected Volkswagen’s proposed fix for its 2.0-liter diesel engines, which exceed United States emissions limits. “Today’s announcement addresses the initial recall plans Volkswagen submitted to CARB in December”, VW said in an emailed response to the announcement.
The rejection by CARB and the EPA also comes two days after Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said of his company’s reaction to the EPA’s findings, “We didn’t lie”.
Recall plans for diesel vehicles with 3.0L engines were not included in the discussion because Volkswagen has until February to submit its proposals for those cars. The proposed recall plans contain gaps and lack sufficient detail, and furthermore, the descriptions of proposed repairs lack enough information for technical evaluation says CARB.
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, Herbert Diess, chairman of Volkswagen passenger cars, was contrite and vowed to make things right with the automaker’s customers.
Last week, the U.S. Justice Department, representing the EPA, filed a civil suit that could potentially expose VW to more than $20 billion in fines under the Clean Air Act.
The state did not assess any immediate penalties, but it issued a new notice that VW had violated California air quality regulations.
Also good is the fact that, in its rejection, CARB expresses a great deal of concern about identifying and notifying consumers about the recall. VW said it is “committed to working cooperatively with CARB and other regulators, and we plan to continue our discussions tomorrow when we meet with the EPA”.
The defeat device turns on pollution controls when the vehicle is undergoing emissions testing, and turns off when it is not being tested, allowing unauthorized amounts of poisonous nitrogen oxides to spew into the environment.
The defeat devices installed on Volkswagen’s 2.0L diesel vehicles manufactured for model year (MY) 2009 through MY 2015 circumvented both CARB and EPA emission test procedures.
Several earlier reports have cited media sources in Germany stating that Volkswagen will soon agree to buy back vehicles affected by the emissions issue.
Despite a toughly worded statement from Californian regulators on Tuesday, the meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) represents Volkswagen’s (VW) best chance for some time to draw a line under a crisis that erupted four months ago when it admitted to cheating the United States tests.
Europe’s largest automaker is in the midst of complex technical talks with the California board and counterparts at the EPA about possible fixes for 480,000 diesel cars.