Tuesday 17 January 2017

Switzerland bans sale of Volkswagen diesel cars

Robert Mendick

Published 26/09/2015 | 19:06

VW subsidiary Seat has been ordered to return subsidies it received from the Spanish government in the wake of the emissions scandal
VW subsidiary Seat has been ordered to return subsidies it received from the Spanish government in the wake of the emissions scandal

Switzerland is banning sales of Volkswagen diesel engine cars which could be fitted with ‘cheating’ devices in the wake of the emissions-rigging scandal.

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Authorities said all VW models with diesel engines suspected of being able to trick emissions tests are affected. Other makes in the VW group, including Seat and Skoda, are also being banned from sale.

In all, the move is expected to affect 180,000 cars, not yet sold or registered in Switzerland. Cars sold and already on the road will not be subject to the ban.

Thomas Rohrbach, spokesman for the Swiss federal office of roadways, announced that the ban was being implemented on all cars with diesel engines in the “euro 5” emissions category.

It includes all VW models – as well as Seat, Skodas and others in the VW group.

The ban does not apply to cars now in production with “euro 6” engines, which are supposed to be able to meet the latest and toughest emissions standards set by the European Union.

Mr Rohrbach said the ban potentially could affect 180,000 vehicles that have 1.2-litre, 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines.

The move by Switzerland follows the astonishing discovery that VW, the world’s biggest car manufacturer, had been fitting cheating devices in the vehicle’s computer software to enable cars to pass tough emissions tests in the US. US investigators found that Volkswagen diesels were emitting up to 40 times more pollutants in testing in real conditions on the road than in official tests in laboratories.

The software tells a car when it is under an official test, triggering emissions control systems that do not seem to be operating under normal driving conditions.

The decision by the Swiss to ban VW Group cars from the road is the latest blow to VW’s fortunes. Its share price has tumbled since the scandal blew up a week ago.

It will also put pressure on other countries, with far bigger markets for VW, to follow suit. The US Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation while the UK has ordered the Vehicle Certification Agency to rerun lab tests on VWs and compare the results with “real-world” driving conditions.

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