Volkswagen AG has released the results of its internal investigation on the diesel emission scandal, including news to recall affected TDI or turbocharged direct injection engines in Europe starting early 2016.
The company said in a press release that its technical solutions for the EA 189 four-cylinder turbodiesel have been approved by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority. The statement comes three months after the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered that US-market, 4-cylinder TDI engines used a “defeat device” to comply with strict standards for harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions during testing, but produced up to 40 times the legal limit on the road.
This led the EPA to issue a Notice of Violation against Volkswagen and Audi 2.0 TDI cars sold in the US since 2009, with the company halting all American TDI sales shortly after. Further investigation found that the software was also used in European TDI vehicles to circumvent Euro6 emission standards and even in the 3.0-liter TDI V6 unit. The EPA issued an additional Notice of Violation for the latter.
Free hardware, software changes
The solutions include software updates for the 2.0-liter and 1.2-liter TDI engines, which will be implemented starting January and April 2016, respectively. Meanwhile, a “flow transformer” for the 1.6-liter TDI unit that will increase fuel-measurement precision and, together with redesigned software, optimize fuel-injection quantity will be installed starting July 2016.
Volkswagen also said that it waives any statute of limitations for the technical solutions, which shall all be free-of-charge, and will provide an appropriate replacement vehicle if required. The recall is expected to take the entire of 2016 to implement.
Due to far stricter NOx limits in the United States, the company said it is still working with the EPA and the California Air Resources Board and will present a solution for US-market TDIs as soon as it is approved.
Philippine-market TDI cars remain within emission-compliance
Volkswagen Philippines corporate affairs director Arnel Doria told Fast Times that all TDI engines sold here will not be covered by the recall since these comply with Euro2 emission standards and will continue to comply with the stricter Euro 4 emission standards starting January 2016.
Models equipped with the TDI 4-cylinder include the 1.6-liter Polo and the 2.0-liter Jetta, Tiguan and Touran. The 3.0-liter V6 TDI powers the Touareg.
Suspended managers, company reforms
Volkswagen AG meanwhile blamed the scandal on three factors: the misconduct and shortcomings of individual employees; weaknesses in some processes;and a mindset in some areas of the company that tolerated breaches of rules.
The investigation found the scandal’s starting point to be the company’s decision to expand turbodiesel sales in the United States in 2005, when Volkswagen found that the EA 189 engine could not meet US NOx emission requirements by legal means within the required timeframe and budget. This led to the incorporation of software that adjusted NOx emission levels according to whether vehicles were on the road or being tested.
As a result of the fallout, the company said it has suspended nine managers who may have been involved in the scandal. Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn also resigned in September, replaced by former Porsche CEO Matthias Muller.
Among the reforms the company plans to implement are a “4-eyes” or multi-person approach to developing engine-control software, new information technology systems for improved monitoring of development processes, thus reducing reliance on people, and the decision to have all future emissions test conducted by an independent, external body.