The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have cleared the way for Volkswagen AG to sell its 2015 model year diesel cars in the United States.
Sales of new and certified used diesel-powered vehicles were halted here in 2015 after the German auto manufacturer admitted it had rigged its vehicles to pass stringent U.S. emissions pollution tests. The Volkswagen scandal is expected to cost the company roughly $24 billion in fines and costs.
Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to rigging nearly 600,000 cars with diesel engines to pass U.S. emissions tests. The company froze sales of new and certified used diesels in the U.S. while it worked with regulators on an approved fix. Volkswagen also had to fix or buyback vehicles from owners as well as compensate them for misleading them.
These were vehicles equipped “defeat devices” or software that could identify when the vehicle was being smog checked. When the software determined a test was being performed, it would activate equipment that would reduce emissions temporarily. Later, after testing was completed, the vehicle would resume its regular emissions that were far above the legal limits here in the U.S. Some vehicles emitted nitrogen oxide at 40 times the legal levels. Vehicles with pollution control devices use more gas, but Volkswagen used this trick to offer customers a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Dealerships may now sell the repaired diesel vehicles with updated emissions software and changes to engine hardware. Some of the necessary parts are not available until 2018, but that will not preclude them from selling the some vehicles. This updated software follows guidelines established by the EPA and CARB.
The path is now clear to sell about 67,000 2015 diesels including 12,000 on dealer’s lots. VW will also seek to sell repaired vehicles it had to buy back from owners due to the scandal.
The models affected by the cheating scandal included all models with the 3-liter diesel engine made between 2009 and 2015. The list includes: 2009 to 2015 Jetta, 2012 to 2015 Beetle and Beetle convertible, 2012 to 2015 Passat, 2010 to 2015 Audi A3, 2009 to 2014 Jetta SportWagen, 2010 to 2015 Golf, and the 2015 Golf SportWagen.
The list was later updated to include the following models: 2009 to 2016 Touareg, 2014 to 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, 2014 to 2016 Audi A7 Quattro, 2014 to 2016 Audi A8 and A8L, 2014 to 2015 Audi Q5, 2009 to 2016 Audi Q7 and the 2013 to 2016 Porsche Cayenne.
The U.S. market for these diesel vehicles accounted for about 20 percent of Volkswagen’s sales prior to the incident. However, there are no new diesel models expected through 2018 as Volkswagen is focusing on electric-powered vehicles for the U.S. market now.
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