As CEO Apologizes For Emissions Cheating, VW Halts Sales Of Some Diesels In US

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

VW chief “sorry” after EPA says firm skirted clean air law.

WASHINGTON: Volkswagen AG’s (VW) admission that it cheated to make nearly half a million diesel cars appear cleaner-burning than they are leaves the automaker facing billions in fines, its executives risking criminal charges and its US expansion plans in peril.Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation, after US regulators found that its software for diesel cars gave false emissions data, its CEO said yesterday.WASHINGTON (AP) — The CEO of Volkswagen apologized Sunday and VW customers said they felt duped after the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the German automaker skirted clean air rules by rigging emissions tests for about 500,000 diesel cars. “I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” Volkswagen chief Martin Winterkorn said in a statement. The EPA said Friday that VW used software that allowed its diesel cars to release fewer smog-causing pollutants during tests than in real-world driving conditions.

The German company has built its campaign to grow in the U.S. market on a promise that its clean-diesel engines deliver better performance and low emissions. When the cars are on the road, they emit as much as 40 times the level of pollutants allowed under clean-air rules meant to ensure public health is protected, Ms Giles said. The EPA, working with the Justice Department, was likely to push for a stiff fine because there were clear violations of the law and harm to the environment, said Margo Oge, former director of the agency’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

The influential magazine Consumer Reports almost immediately suspended its “recommended” rating from the Jetta and Passat diesels until it can get a recall repair and re-test the cars. The four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbo direct injection, or TDI, engine is commonly found in Volkswagen’s Passat, Jetta, Golf, Beetle and in Audi’s A3 luxury compact model. The council, a research group that helps governments form regulations, did the U.S. tests in an effort to show that automakers were complying with U.S. nitrogen oxide emissions standards, which are stricter than in other countries, he said.

If each car involved is found to be in noncompliance, the penalty could be $18 billion, an EPA official confirmed during the telephone conference on Friday. “I have a rough idea of what is happening and that it does not apply to us,” Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said on Sunday at an event in Hamburg. An EPA spokeswoman has said it would be “premature to speculate on why VW did this.” A Volkswagen spokesman in Wolfsburg, Germany, on Sunday said, “We are now in the investigation phase and have no comment beyond what is in the statement that we published today.” The International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit research organization that works with governments to cut air pollution from mobile sources, and West Virginia University researchers uncovered Volkswagen’s alleged use of defeat devices in research and testing over the last couple of years.

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