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VW postpones German recall of tainted sedans

Apr 25 2016 12:56
Elisabeth Behrmann

Munich - Volkswagen (VW) needs more time to finalize a fix for rigged Passat sedans in Germany, as the scandal-hit carmaker struggles to get a three-month-old recall on track.

The German carmaker is working to gain regulatory approval for repairs that ensure the vehicles don’t become noisier and have worse fuel economy after disabling emissions-cheating software, according to Juergen Stackmann, the VW brand’s sales chief.

Volkswagen, which had planned to start recalling 2.0-litre diesel-powered Passats in March, is now switching gears and seeking approval for repairs to the Golf hatchback instead.

“Neither the regulator nor us is happy with the result” of the fix for VW’s best-selling sedan, Stackmann in an interview at the Beijing motor show. “We’re working on a new solution to the Passat. We’ll start with the Golf in Europe. It’s not a race for time.”

Postponing the recall for 150 000 Passats is the latest in a series of delays as VW tries to regain public trust after admitting it rigged 11 million vehicles worldwide to cheat on diesel-emissions tests. The company, which has yet to finalize solutions for affected US vehicles, has set aside €16.2bn for repairs, customer compensation and legal risks.

No agreement

VW also lacks final regulatory approval from German authorities for the Golf, meaning those repairs can’t start immediately either. Despite a sluggish start to a recall that ultimately involves 8.5 million vehicles in Europe, Volkswagen is insistent it can ramp up the rate of repairs and work through most of the cars this year. There has not been “a change to what we’ve communicated” on timeframe, a spokesperson said.

The cheating software deactivated pollution controls for nitrogen oxides in normal driving conditions. The fix needs to ensure that the cars can filter out the smog-inducing pollutants without burning additional fuel, which would generate more carbon dioxide.

VW had initially sailed passed regulatory hurdles in Germany, getting preliminary approval for a low-cost fix for 1.2-, 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesel cars. The repairs involved software updates and in limited cases a new tube to regulate air flow.

volkswagen  |  germany  |  industrial
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