VW’s Diess to Meet EU Official Over Emissions Cheating

Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen, at the VW stand at the 2015 IAA Frankfurt Auto Show on Sept. 15, in Frankfurt, Germany.

Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images

European Union Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska plans to meet Volkswagen AG executive Herbert Diess this week to discuss the German carmaker’s cheating on emission tests.

Bienkowska and Diess, who is VW brand chief, will confer on Tuesday in Brussels over the company’s rigging of diesel engines to circumvent U.S. pollution controls, European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso told reporters on Monday in the Belgian capital.

The meeting will deepen the involvement of the commission, the 28-member EU’s executive arm, in a scandal that has so far affected mainly the auto industry and national regulators. VW used so-called defeat devices to cheat on American diesel-emission standards.

“We need to have a full picture of how many vehicles certified in the EU were fitted with defeat devices,” Cardoso said. Such software is banned under 2007 European legislation that the EU’s national governments are responsible for enforcing, with the possible penalties for violations including fines and the withdrawal of vehicle type approval.

Policymakers in the EU are assessing weaknesses in a regulatory system that has laxer emission tests than does the U.S. and that divides authority between European and national bodies. The EU, where pollution tests are conducted in laboratories, aims to phase in a road-testing component by autumn 2017 because of evidence that real-driving emissions are higher than discharges in labs.

After her talk on Tuesday with Diess, Bienkowska plans to discuss the VW-emissions affair “in detail” at an Oct. 1 meeting in Luxembourg of EU industry ministers, according to Cardoso.

“We have invited already all the member states to carry out the necessary investigations at national level and report back,” Cardoso said. “The policing of this is an obligation of the member-state authorities and we will not, of course, tolerate fraud and we expect rigorous compliance.”

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