The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently announced it has issued a notice of violation (NOV) to the Volkswagen Group after it was found that the said company had violated clean air standards using a software developed for diesel cars that provides false emissions data. The said software is used in 482,000 four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles with model years from 2009 to 2015.
An NOV was issued to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Moreover, both the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have also launched investigations into Volkswagen’s alleged actions. In addition, California is also issuing a separate In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen.
On September 18, the Volkswagen Group had said that it had indeed received notice from the EPA, CARB and the U.S. Department of Justice with regard to their emission compliance issue. At that time, Volkswagen had assured the public that it is working to fix the emission issue in their vehicles. However, they also informed their customers that they “do not need to take any action at this time.”
Following the release of findings from the EPA and CARB which revealed that Volkswagen used defeat device software to alter emission levels during official emission testing, Volkwagen AG Chief Executive Officer Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn has issued a statement saying, “I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public.” He had also announced that the company has already ordered for an external investigation to be done regarding the issue.
The affected vehicles include 2009 to 2015 models of Jetta, Beetle Audi A3 and Golf as well as the 2014 to 2015 models of Passat. The defeat device software on the Volkswagen vehicles was found during an independent analysis undertaken by researchers at the West Virginia University who were working in cooperation with the International Council on Clean Transportation. Meanwhile, Volkswagen also admitted to using defeat devices in September.
Volkswagen is being asked to begin a process that will fix the emission systems on affected vehicles. Nonetheless, the EPA has said that although the affected vehicles are facing violation, they do not pose a safety hazard and is still “legal to drive and resell.”
Meanwhile, Volkswagen spokesman John Schilling has told The New York Times that the company already ordered a stop sale for 2015 to 2016 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles that are using four cylinder turbo diesel engines. The said engines were actually marketed to be “clean diesel.”
Editor’s note: [Erratum] A previous version of this article claimed that 428,000 vehicles were affected instead of 482,000. We apologize for the confusion.