VW Scandal Widens as India Says Vehicles Exceeded Emission Rules

  • Variations between on-road and laboratory tests detected
  • Four models covering as many as 314,000 cars may be affected

India sought a response from Volkswagen AG after probes into four car models showed diesel-fuel emissions exceeding permissible limits, and variations in results between on-road tests and those done in laboratories.

Investigations into the Jetta, Vento, Polo and Audi A4 marques showed significant variations and about 314,000 vehicles are potentially affected, Ambuj Sharma, an additional secretary in India’s Heavy Industries Ministry, said in an interview in Mumbai. If cars have defeat devices that cheat tests, the matter would become criminal, he said.

Emissions exceeding India’s Bharat Stage IV standards were detected, and VW has 30 days to reply to the findings, Sharma said. The notice adds to Volkswagen’s woes after the automaker admitted in September to cheating U.S. pollution tests for years with illegal software, prompting a plunge in its shares and a leadership change.

India’s standards for controlling pollution from exhaust fumes lag behind those in Europe by several years.

The company said yesterday it will present its results on the diesel-engine emissions issue by the end of November, and that it’s co-operating fully with the Indian government.

Volkswagen said this week that it found faulty emission readings for the first time in gasoline-powered vehicles, widening a scandal that so far had centered on diesel engines.

Volkswagen’s India unit sold 23,224 units in the country in the six months through September, giving it a 1.7 percent share of the market and ranking it eighth in Asia’s third-biggest auto market, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.