VOLKSWAGEN Australia this week announced it finally has gained government approval to start fixing some of the 99,678 cars impacted by the diesel emissions scandal.
However, the initial software fix is only for 8694 Volkswagen Amarok utes, leaving more than 90,000 Volkswagens, Audis and Skodas still requiring upgrades.
Today’s announcement comes almost six months after the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a violation to the carmaking giant for fitting defeat devices to its vehicles to ensure they passed stringent laboratory regulatory tests but emit up to 40 times the legal levels of dangerous nitrogen oxides in regular driving.
Volkswagen says the free software update to the EA189 engine will take about half an hour and that owners would be notified by email and/or regular mail advising them they could book their car in for the fix.
Despite concerns any updates would negatively impact performance and/or fuel use, Volkswagen says there will be “no affect to vehicle performance, torque, fuel consumption, engine acoustics or [CO2] emissions”.
The statement read: “Volkswagen Group Australia assures its customers that the implementation of the measure does not lead to a deterioration of the fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, engine performance, torque and vehicle acoustics and all vehicle values related to type approval remain unchanged; and continue to outperform the minimum emissions requirements of both Euro 4 and Euro 5 standards.”
Volkswagen says recalls of the other affected diesel-powered models – both with the 2.0-litre engine that accounts for most of the affected vehicles and the 1.6-litre engine that also requires a hardware change – “will follow in the coming months”.
“Recalls for other Volkswagen Group models with 2.0 litre EA189 diesel engines will continue throughout the year, progressing model-by-model,” the statement said. “A recall for affected 1.6-litre vehicles will commence later this year.”
The highly publicised recall is expected to run well in to 2017 and cost the Australian arms millions of dollars.
The diesel emissions recall affects more than 20 old and existing models from Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda, with each requiring a slightly different software change due to different tunes; some models may require two or more tunes due to updates throughout the vehicle’s life.
Each revised engine tune must be individually verified by the German transport regulatory authority, the KBA, and the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development before being applied to vehicles locally.