VOLKSWAGEN and Audi have announced an immediate suspension of Australian sales of 10 popular diesel models as a result of the emissions scandal that has engulfed the company globally.
Certain diesel versions of the Jetta, CC, Passat, Caddy and Tiguan have been pulled from sale today and dealers instructed not to deliver any existing stock to customers.
Audi has also suspended sales of some of its top sellers, including diesel versions of the A4, A5 and Q5.
Sister brand Skoda has suspended sales of diesel versions of two models, the Yeti and Superb.
The sales suspension only applies to cars fitted with the EA189 diesel engine, both in 1.6 and 2.0-litre capacities.
The latest generation Volkswagen Golf, the brand's strongets-selling model, are not affected as it uses all-new engines.
The action is understood to have been instigated by a meeting yesterday with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
The ACCC earlier this week issued a statement saying the Volkswagen investigation was “a priority” for the consumer watchdog.
“We are very concerned about the potential consumer and competition detriment from this alleged conduct,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.
In statements released this morning (see below) Volkswagen and Audi said the action was the “first step” in what is shaping up to be an expensive and brand-damaging campaign to rectify what is expected to be tens of thousands of affected Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda models already on Australian roads.
The Volkswagen statement said: “Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) met with the relevant government authorities yesterday to advise them of its strategy in Australia to address concerns that have been raised around the world regarding the diesel emissions issue.”
Volkswagen didn’t announce which models were suspended from sale but its public website no longer lists the diesel versions of the Jetta, CC, Passat, Caddy, Tiguan, Yeti and Superb.
Audi did outline the three of its models affected and went further to reassure existing customers there was no safety issue in driving affected cars.
“Audi AG has released a statement to inform existing customers that the company would be contacting them in the coming weeks and months with information about how their cars will be retrofitted.”
The emissions scandal broke last month when it was revealed Volkswagen had cheated US emissions regulations with a “defeat device” that ran the engine in a different mode when undergoing emissions testing.
Volkswagen has admitted 11 million vehicles globally are affected but it has not detailed how many of those cars are in Australia; some local news organisations have estimated there could be between 40,000 and 50,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda vehicles affected in Australia.
The emissions scandal – which showed emissions of nitrogen oxide could be up to 40 times the levels demanded on United States roads – is expected to cost Volkswagen tens of billions of dollars in fines and rectification work. The company has also shed tens of billions off its share price and is facing reduced sales as a result of the negative publicity.
Here is the full Volkswagen Australia statement:
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF SALES OF CERTAIN AFFECTED VEHICLES FITTED WITH EA189 DIESEL ENGINES
In its first step, effective immediately VGA has temporarily suspended the sale of affected vehicles fitted with 1.6 or 2.0-litre EA189 diesel engines. The suspension will remain until the emission issues are addressed in those vehicles.
VGA will make further announcements next week.
Here is the full Audi Australia statement:
Audi Australia to temporarily suspend sales of A4, A5 and Q5 2.0 TDI models
Australia, 3 October 2015 – Audi Australia Pty Ltd, together with VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia (VGA) met with the relevant government authorities yesterday to advise them of its strategy to address concerns that have been raised around the world regarding the diesel emissions issue.
In its first step, effective today, Audi Australia Pty Ltd temporarily suspended the sale of affected vehicles fitted with the 2.0-litre EA189 diesel engine, certified according to the European emission standard EU5. The suspension of sales for the Audi brand relates to the Audi A4, A5 and Q5 vehicles with a 2.0 TDI engine only. The suspension will remain until the emission issues are addressed in those vehicles.
AUDI AG has released a statement to inform existing customers that the company would be contacting them in the coming weeks and months with information about how their cars will be retrofitted. Audi Australia will make further announcements next week following ongoing investigations with its head office, but the company can confirm that affected vehicles continue to be safe to drive.
The 1.6-litre and 2.-litre TDI engines certified according to the new EU6 emission standard are not affected. The same applies to V6 and V8 TDI engines, irrespective of whether they are certified according to EU5 or EU6. No petrol engines are affected.
Audi’s customers remain its highest priority and will be contacted directly as soon as possible. In the interim, customers are encouraged to contact the Audi Customer Service Line on 1800 50 AUDI (2834).