In September 2015 it was revealed that the Volkswagen Group (including Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Škoda) had manufactured and sold around 11 million vehicles worldwide, which were fitted with test cycle recognition software. 1.2 million of these vehicles were sold in the UK alone. The effect of this software was to reduce NOx emissions during testing.
When driven on the road, these vehicles produce higher levels of NOx than is permitted by law. NOx is a combination of Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide; both of which are pollutants associated with, amongst other things, acid rain and childhood asthma.
The Volkswagen Group promoted a ‘clean diesel’ image, which, in part, led to their vehicles commanding a premium price.
If you own a 1.2 litre, 1.6 litre or 2.0 litre diesel vehicle, made between 2009 and 2015 by Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT or Škoda, it is very likely that your vehicle will be affected.
Volkswagen has repeatedly told customers that the vehicles are safe and roadworthy, and that their ‘type-approval’ remains valid. ‘Type-approval’ is a regulatory prerequisite for selling vehicles. Privately, though, Volkswagen has admitted to the DVSA (the UK authority responsible for vehicle recalls) that the “nitrogen oxide emissions levels [of the vehicles] do not meet the regulatory requirements for registering the vehicle under the Euro 5 standard.”
Despite entering into a settlement with owners in the US worth around $15 billion, Volkswagen has refused to acknowledge wrongdoing in Europe.
Volkswagen AG statement:
CEO Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn
22nd September 2015