So far, the federal government and 28 U.S. states have opened investigations into VW’s emission test cheating. Other countries investigating VW or its former CEO include South Korea, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Germany.
According to the EPA, VW installed cheating software on about 11 million diesel Audi and Volkswagen cars with four-cylinder engines manufactured for model years 2009 through 2015, including about 482,000 cars sold in the United States.
Volkswagen could have prevented all this by spending about $430 per car during manufacturing, Popular Science said.
States investigating VW now include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
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The EPA issued a notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. on September 18, 2015.
VW owns Audi.
The NOV alleges that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include software that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants.
The software produced by Volkswagen is a “defeat device,” as defined by the Clean Air Act.
California is separately issuing an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen, and EPA and the California Air Resources Board have both initiated investigations based on Volkswagen’s alleged actions.
Affected diesel models include:
- Jetta (MY 2009 – 2015)
- Jetta Sportwagen (MY 2009-2014)
- Beetle (MY 2012 – 2015)
- Beetle Convertible (MY 2012-2015)
- Audi A3 (MY 2010 – 2015)
- Golf (MY 2010 – 2015)
- Golf Sportwagen (MY 2015)
- Passat (MY 2012-2015)
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EPA standards control the allowable emission levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and certain toxic chemicals.
The VW defeat device affects the way the NOx control system operates, resulting in higher NOx emission levels from these vehicles than from vehicles with properly operating emission controls.
In the affected diesel vehicles, NOx emission levels are 10 – 40 times higher than emission standards.
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Here’s an ad from VW released in July 2015 bragging about its clean Golf SportWagen TDI diesel. The ad now looks dangerously deceptive.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.