MORE THAN 90,000 diesel cars sold in Australia contained software cheats to help them pass emissions tests, Volkswagen Australia’s parent company has admitted.
Late today, Volkswagen Australia said its website would allow all owners to enter their vehicle’s 17-digit code to confirm whether it is among the 77,149 VW and Skoda-badged vehicles affected.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group luxury brand Audi Australia also released a statement saying it had identified 14,028 diesel-engined vehicles affected by the emissions rort.
Audi-badged cars affected include the A4 sedan and A5 coupe, and the Q5 mid-size SUV.
Volkswagen Australia said its parent company had confirmed numerous models containing the cheat software were sold here.
“[Volkswagen Group Australia] is taking action following confirmation from the head office of the Volkswagen Group that certain diesel vehicles sold in Australia were fitted with software that can affect their emissions during a dynamometer test,” the company said.
“Volkswagen Group Australia takes this issue extremely seriously and is continuing to gather all the facts from our head office to support any rectification plans in Australia,” the company’s Australian managing director, John White, said.
“We understand the disappointment and frustration felt by our customers, dealers and partners in Australia and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
“We are doing everything possible to fix the problem and will be making further announcements in the near future.”
However, the statement from Volkswagen it did not say whether the software cheat, which recognised if the car was being officially emissions tested and automatically kicked over into a low-pollution mode, was also used to set Australian emissions ratings for the vehicles sold here.
The scandal does not scoop up any of Volkswagen Group’s petrol-engined cars, or its best-selling model, the Golf hatch and wagon.
It was believed all the cars were taken off sale after a meeting on Friday with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional development.
Last week, the ACCC said 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.
The setting up of a website for Australian customers comes a fortnight after Volkswagen Group made the shock announcement that it had fitted up to 11 million diesel cars globally with “defeat” software that allowed them to cheat exhaust emissions tests.
Number of vehicles sold by VGA in Australia affected by the diesel emissions issue, per brand:
Volkswagen Passenger Cars – 54,745 cars affected
Passat CC (2008-2012)
Volkswagen CC (2011-2015)
Skoda – 5148 cars affected
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles – 17,256 cars affected