VW Submits Recall Plan for 3-Liter Diesels to CARB, EPA

Updated on
  • Draft plan involves 85,000 VW, Audi and Porsche Vehicles
  • Talks about how to fix the 2-liter engines are ongoing

Volkswagen AG submitted its draft recall plan for about 85,000 VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles with 3-liter diesel engines to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board.

"VW has stated this plan is intended to remedy the presence of one or more defeat devices in 2009-2015 model year 3.0 liter diesel vehicles," the Air Resources Board wrote in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. "VW agrees these devices resulted in excess emissions and other instances of noncompliance in the affected vehicles."

The EPA said it will review the proposal. The Air Resources Board said it will respond "following a thorough and complete review to make sure the plan addresses the presence of the illegal defeat device and follows the necessary environmental, vehicle and public health and safety regulations."

U.S. and California regulators expanded their investigation to the 3-liter diesel models in November, saying the automaker had put devices on them to defeat emissions tests. The EPA had said in September that Volkswagen admitted that it rigged the software of about 480,000 diesel vehicles beginning in 2009 to pass U.S. emissions tests. When not being tested, the cars and light trucks released pollution well in excess of permitted levels, the agency said.

Recall Compliance

The company and the regulators have not yet reached an agreement on how the vehicles will be fixed to comply with clean-air standards, or how a nationwide recall in the U.S. will unfold for consumers.

"We are fully cooperating with the U.S. authorities to make our V6 3.0L TDI engine compliant with regulations," said Mark Clothier, Audi’s U.S. spokesman. "After meetings between EPA/CARB and our technicians, we filed a recall plan within the time limit laid out in the regulations. Now the authorities will review the plan and determine whether it meets their requirements.  We hope to receive a decision in the near future."

Volkswagen reported Tuesday that January sales for its namesake brand fell 15 percent from a year earlier. In a month when other automakers did better than analysts had anticipated, VW fell short of TrueCar Inc.’s estimate for a 9.8 percent decline.

Last month, California rejected the automaker’s December proposal on how to fix issues with other 2-liter engines as “incomplete,” and the regulators and Volkswagen have been conducting complex technical talks. Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller met with EPA chief Gina McCarthy and members of Congress last month after appearing at the Detroit auto show.

In the U.S., beyond developing effective repairs for the two types of engines, VW will have to document any adverse impact on vehicles and consumers. Because the emissions scandal centers on Volkswagen’s use of a defeat device to skirt regulations, any proposed remedy -- whether retrofitting cars with new parts or revising software codes -- will need to be tested by California and EPA technicians before the plan is approved to be rolled out to consumers.