Volkswagen reveals emissions fix for diesel cars in Europe – CNBC

Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2015

The technical fixes proposed by Volkswagen appeared to be surprisingly simple, deepening the mystery over why the decision had been made to evade pollution testing with illicit software. Volkswagen said German regulators had approved the changes.Cars with 2-liter diesel motors can be repaired by simply updating the engine-control software, the company said.

Cars with 1.6-liter motors will require installation of a so-called flow straightener tube, which has mesh inside designed to stabilize air flowing into the motor. It allows the fuel-injection system to function more precisely and to reduce emissions.

Volkswagen is still working on a repair for 1.2-liter motors, but said it would probably consist of a software update.

The company said it would begin making the repairs in January and complete the recall by the end of 2016.

The measures required in the United States are not likely to be so simple. The United States places stricter limits on nitrogen oxides, which are linked to lung ailments. In addition, most of the diesel vehicles sold in the United States — 320,000 out of a total of 480,000 — are equipped with older emissions technology that could be harder to make compliant.

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The cars with older technology included models from 2009 through 2012 like the Golf, Jetta and Beetle, as well as the Audi A3.

Beginning with the 2013 model year, cars like the Passat were equipped with a system that uses the chemical urea to neutralize nitrogen oxide emissions and is considered effective when properly configured.

Those vehicles may be easier to repair.Volkswagen did not sell any engines smaller than 2 liters in the United States, though a small number of cars with 1.6-liter motors may have been imported from Mexico or other countries.

Representatives of Volkswagen and its Audi division have been in talks with the Environmental Protection Agency about how to make cars in the United States compliant.

This month, the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency discovered during on-road testing of Volkswagen vehicles that larger models were also equipped with defeat devices. While the carmakers dispute that the software is actually used to cheat on emissions testing, they admitted to regulators that all 2009 to 2016 models equipped with a 3-liter engine were fitted with the software.

A further problem in the United States is that there are only about 1,000 Volkswagen and Audi dealers that could carry out the repairs. Volkswagen’s dealer network is much denser in Europe, where it is the largest carmaker by far.

“The risks continue to be in the U.S.A.,” Mr. Dudenhöffer said.

Jad Mouawad contributed reporting from New York.


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