There is a huge scandal right now in the automotive industry in United States as Volkswagen and Audi are being accused by the Environmental Protection Agency of cheating during the official emissions tests. It seems around 482,000 cars equipped with diesel engines have a so-called “defeat device” used to make the cars show lower emissions in these tests.
This software has been installed on the Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Jetta and the Audi A3 from the 2009 through 2015 model years as well as on the Volkswagen Passat from the 2014 and 2015 model years. All cars share a four-cylinder, 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine and a custom software that can automatically detect when the car is going through emissions testing. When this happens, the emissions control device is turned on and then it’s disabled during real world driving.
EPA has given this explanation and they say the differences between the test nitrogen oxides emissions and the ones during real driving are of up to 40 times above the legal allowable levels.
As a consequence of these discrepancies, Volkswagen and Audi are facing up to $37,500 fine per car which translates to a maximum of $18 billion fine for all the vehicles involved in this investigation that could be expanded onto other diesel-powered models from VAG sold in United States. EPA says Volkswagen has admitted installing a special software code created to manipulate these emissions tests. Moreover, officials of the German marque have expressed their availability to cooperate with EPA on this delicate matter.
The investigation is still ongoing, so the exact amount of the fines has not been established just yet, but regardless of the sum, this will surely affect Volkswagen’s image not just in United States, but also all over the world. VW has announced they have halted sales of the remaining 2015MY models equipped with the 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine as a preemptive move to avoid an even higher fine.