Volkswagen Apologizes for EPA Cheating, Issues Stop-Sale Order on 2015, 2016 TDIs
CEO Winterkorn Says Matter is “First Priority”
The big news in the automotive world last week was the discovery and admission by Volkswagen that it had installed “defeat” software in its 2009-2015 2.0L I-4 TDI models to help them pass government emissions tests by detecting the specific test protocol parameters and adjusting engine management to help the cars pass emissions tests, then reverting to “normal” operation under driving, in which the engines emitted up to 40 times the allowable standards of NOx emissions. Volkswagen Group CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn issued a statement saying the company takes these findings “very seriously” and that he is personally “deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public.”
The company has taken the additional step of issuing a stop-sale order to its U.S. dealers on 2015 and 2016 2.0L TDI models, until the EPA can determine that the new models pass emissions standards in normal operation. Volkswagen and Audi 2.0L TDI models from the 2009-2014 model years used a NOx trap, rather than the current standard of a urea additive selective reduction catalyst (SCR) system. At the time, VW claimed the NOx trap allowed it to meet emissions standards without the use of an SCR system. All 2015- and newer TDI models are equipped with an SCR system. The maximum possible fine for VW could be up to $37,500 per vehicle for the 482,000 estimated models affected, bringing the total to a staggering $18 billion. Few believe VW will be hit with such a massive fine. The possible remedies include an engine software reflash, which some believe could adversely affect the cars’ drivability, performance, and fuel economy, or the retrofit of an SCR system to each of the vehicles, which could be a complicated and costly fix.
Source: Vokswagen, The Detroit News