Volkswagen Deliberately Evaded Federal Emissions Requirements, say Regulators

Volkswagen Deliberately Evaded Federal Emissions Requirements, say Regulators

Federal regulators said that Volkswagen AG knowingly avoided federal requirements for emissions in almost half-million diesel cars in the United States since 2009. Regulators claimed that the German carmaker evaded the requirements by writing vehicle software that activated anti-pollution control only when tested.

It has been found that the German automaker sold nearly 482,000 diesel vehicles from 2009-2015 without having fulfilled the requirements. The sale of Volkswagen Jetta, Passat, Sportwagen, Beetle and Audi A3 cars with 2.0-liter engines, let them emit 10 to 40 times allowable pollution, environmental officials allege.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California's Air Resources Board said VW violated federal law and can face fines of up to $18 billion or $37,500 per vehicle, as well as criminal prosecution.

VW said in a statement that it is cooperating with the government, but didn't say if it has admitted its mistake. The automaker is on track to surpass Toyota to become the world's largest automaker this year.

Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA's Office of Transportation of Air Quality, said in an interview that the government agency took the unusual step of refusing to grant VW a certificate of conformity to sell 2016 model diesel cars with 2.0-liter diesel engines.

"VW is barred from selling those vehicles until they get answers to the questions of how these vehicles are being operated. Volkswagen couldn't explain why we're getting these excess emissions", Grundler said.

The agency said the vehicles' software intentionally gets detected when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and turns full emissions controls on during the test.