Business Irish

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Thousands of Irish cars could face recall as VW storm arrives in Europe

A Volkswagen Passat CC is tested for its exhaust emissions at a Ministry of Transport (MOT) testing station in London yesterday
A Volkswagen Passat CC is tested for its exhaust emissions at a Ministry of Transport (MOT) testing station in London yesterday
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

There are fresh concerns about cars with Volkswagen emissions-cheating software on Irish roads following new revelations.

It yesterday emerged that the software was present in 1.6-litre, as well as two-litre, diesels sold in Europe.

Volkswagen Group Ireland is still not commenting on the matter and says it will not do so until it has all the facts.

However, there is now a feeling of inevitability among sources that there will be Irish cars with the software.

As many as 45,500 diesel cars here could come under the umbrella of a possible recall.

Of these, 37,000 or so would be 1.6-litre and the remainder are two-litre, according to research on sales data carried out for the Irish Independent.

The vast majority of diesels across the group- VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda - have the smaller-capacity engine.

Volkswagen said software "irregularities" apply to 11 million Type EA 189 engines sold worldwide - with most of them likely to be in Europe.

However, in another twist, it is unclear if any, all, or even some breach our regulations.

Researchers claimed EU standards were not as strict as those in the US.

According to experts, carmakers don't need to cheat the tests in Europe because emissions limits are less stringent.

Volkswagen's Jetta, Beetle, Golf, and Audi's A3 models in the US from 2009 to 2015, and the Passat from 2014-2015, were fitted with devices which produced more 'favourable' results.


On a day of further drama surrounding the scandal, German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt (pictured below) confirmed the software was present in cars sold in Europe. He said it was unclear how many vehicles were affected, but it is certain to run to millions because of Europe's love affair with diesel.

He also said random tests would be conducted on cars made by other companies.

"It is clear that the Federal Office for Motor Traffic will not exclusively concentrate on the VW models in question but that it will also carry out random tests on vehicles made by other carmakers," Mr Dobrindt said.

Shares in BMW dropped sharply after a German newspaper claimed its diesel engines "significantly" exceeded limits. BMW later denied the claims.

Other car manufacturers have gone on the record to say they have not manipulated tests. These include Jaguar Land Rover, Renault, Mercedes, Lamborghini (which is part of the Volkswagen Group), Toyota and Honda.

And French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen called for more stringent emissions tests.

It is being emphasised that the investigation is not about emissions of CO2, as it is only concerned with the particulate emissions from diesels (NOx) which affect air quality. Fuel economy should not be affected.

However, the diesel scandal has put an intense new focus on how carmakers arrive at their overall CO2 emissions figures - the ones that determine the level of VRT and road tax in Ireland.

Britain said it planned to start taking cars for its own independent tests to see if they approximate what the makers claim in official figures.

The Vehicle Certification Agency, part of the Department for Transport which carries out the tests, is expected to liaise with car manufacturers.

There is growing pressure across Europe for a major overhaul of the testing system.

Irish Independent

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