New Delhi: The embattled Volkswagen group has initiated an internal investigation in India to see how many diesel models and variants of its brands – Audi, VW and Skoda – may have possibly been impacted by the engines that cheated emission tests in the US and other markets across Europe, top sources said.
The inquiry will determine whether the company needs to call back some of the models that the group has sold in the market and, importantly, whether there is a need to even halt the sale of certain variants, the sources told TOI.
“It is a dynamic situation at the moment and we are trying to confirm the details. There is no clarity at all on the issues. It is very complicated and very technical and it is being centrally investigated by a team in Germany,” one of the source said.
Some of the group’s models that may have the spiked engines include Audi’s A3 and A4 sedans and Q3 and Q5 SUVs, VW’s Jetta; Skoda’s Superb sedan, Yeti SUV and Laura mid-size (now discontinued).
The investigation by the company comes in at a time when the government has asked domestic automotive testing agency ARAI to inquire if the Volkswagen group had followed the same practice during emission tests in India as it did in the US, where it faces a fine of over $18 billion for manipulation. The company admitted last week that around 11 million cars of its group brands worldwide are affected by the diesel emissions scandal. Audi said 2.1 million cars worldwide were fitted with the software that allowed parent Volkswagen to cheat emission tests.
ARAI is likely to submit a report on the issue by the end of this month.
When contacted, a spokesperson for Volkswagen group in India confirmed the development. “… investigations are going on. As soon as we have further information, we will have to decide on the necessary actions.”
Asked whether the action will include stopping the sale of certain models and even calling back some of those that have already been sold, the spokesperson said, “We have not stopped selling or producing the Volkswagen Group cars in India at the moment… All vehicles in customers’ hands are safe and driveable right now. To issue an advisory to the customers over the issue and to call back the cars depends on the findings of the ongoing investigations.”
The company said that “production is still going on and we cannot confirm which all models are impacted yet since the investigations are still going on.”
The Volkswagen group uses the same EA189 common rail diesel engine family in India that has been found cheating in the US. The engines that have come out of the family include 1.5-litre and the popular 2-litre, and the previously-used 1.6-litre.
“The engines used in India are for Euro4 norms which is less strict than those meant for Europe and the US. However, they are suspected to be carrying the cheat software. What is now being determined is that whether the software was activated here also,” a source said. “If it was, then a series of remedial measures will need to be taken, including calling back cars and also halting production and sales.”
“The whole family of engines had the software. What is being investigated is whether it was active or not,” the source said.
Asked by when will the investigations be completed, the spokesperson said, “We do not know by when would we have the results of the investigation. We will have to wait till then.”
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