On Tuesday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) rejected the 2 Liter diesel car recall plan submitted by the Volkswagen Group of America. This plan is Volkswagen’s attempt to fix the Dieselgate problem, in which the VW Group committed fraud by programming 2 liter TDI Diesel cars to cheat on emissions tests. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement concurring with CARB’s rejection of Volkswagen’s plan.
These rejections are a big setback in Volkswagen’s effort to rebound from the Dieselgate scandal. “Volkswagen made a decision to cheat on emissions tests and then tried to cover it up,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “They continued and compounded the lie and when they were caught they tried to deny it. The result is thousands of tons of nitrogen oxide that have harmed the health of Californians. They need to make it right. Today’s action is a step in the direction of assuring that will happen.”
The rejection of this recall plan does not preclude a better recall plan in the future. According to an FAQ published by CARB, both CARB and the EPA are working with VW to evaluate and develop a recall plan. The rejected plan covers only the 2 Liter TDI Diesel cars. Last fall it was discovered some of VW Groups 3 Liter TDI Diesels exhibited the same problem, but these are being handled through a separate process. The rationale given for rejecting the plan is these points, and the FAQ spells out the requirements of a workable recall plan:
- The proposed plans contain gaps and lack sufficient detail.
- The descriptions of proposed repairs lack enough information for a technical evaluation; and
- The proposals do not adequately address overall impacts on vehicle performance, emissions and safety.
CARB’s role in this is due to California having been granted the right to develop its own vehicle emissions regulations, because of the unhealthy air quality in certain areas of the state. Volkswagen violated not only Federal air quality rules (the Clean Air Act) but California’s, and both agencies get to enforce those rules against Volkswagen. On Jan. 4, 2016, the US Dept of Justice launched a civil lawsuit against the Volkswagen Group. The company is facing similar legal action from regulators in countries around the world.
EPA said in a statement it agrees with California “that Volkswagen has not submitted an approvable recall plan to bring the vehicles into compliance and reduce pollution. EPA has conveyed this to the company previously.”
VW said it is “committed to working cooperatively with CARB and other regulators, and we plan to continue our discussions tomorrow when we meet with the EPA.” According to Reuters, VW CEO Matthias Muller is meeting with EPA chief Gina McCarthy on Wednesday to discuss resolution of the Dieselgate problem.
According to CARB, owners of affected cars can still sell their cars, can re-register them every years, and will be notified once a plan has been approved. CARB cannot mandate a buyback of affected vehicles, however a buyback may occur as a result of other discussions.
- VW Jetta SportWagen (MY 2009 – 2014)
- Audi A3 (MY 2010 – 2013, 2015)
- VW Beetle (MY 2013 – 2015)
- VW Beetle Convertible (MY 2013 – 2015)
- VW Golf (MY 2010 – 2015)
- VW Jetta (MY 2009 – 2015)
- VW Passat (MY 2012 – 2015)
- VW Golf SportWagen (MY 2015)