Haven’t used defeat device in India: Volkswagen3 min read . Updated: 04 Dec 2015, 11:28 AM IST
Firm counters ARAI findings, says brands from its stable do not violate Bharat Stage IV emission norms
New Delhi: The Indian subsidiary of German auto maker Volkswagen AG said its cars in the country are not fitted with the so-called defeat device, which it has been accused of using globally to fudge emission data.
Volkswagen’s claim flies in the face of the findings of India’s apex vehicle testing agency, the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) which, in its tests, found emissions by cars made by the company to be more than permissible levels.
Mint reported this on 2 December. ARAI is a collaborative association between the automotive industry and the ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises.
On Tuesday, the Mumbai-headquartered Volkswagen Group India said that approximately 323,700 cars of Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi in India are equipped with the EA 189 family of diesel engines.
Globally, cars powered by these engines have the so-called defeat device, a software that can detect when a car is being tested and manipulate performance to improve emission results.
“Volkswagen Group India has intimated (the government) why it believes that its cars are not equipped with a ‘defeat device’," the company said in a statement.
It added that the findings from the evaluations undertaken by Volkswagen Group India under the observation of ARAI show that the tested cars of the brands Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi are not violative of Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) emission norms in India.
Volkswagen cars sold in the US were built to meet Euro-VI norms. In India, passenger vehicles comply with Euro-IV norms even when the suitable fuel is only available in the top 50 cities. The rest of the country gets Euro-III fuel.
“To come to a common conclusion on this topic, further meetings with ministry of road transport and highways will take place," the company said in its statement.
ARAI director Rashmi Urdhwareshe did not respond to phone calls or text messages.
Ambuj Sharma, additional secretary of the department of heavy industries, had said in an interview on 2 December that the roads ministry will decide whether Volkswagen vehicles in India are fitted with the defeat device.
Ministry officials did not respond to phone calls.
The ministry could carry out independent checks but that may not be mandatory.
In the US, vehicle manufacturers follow a self-certification process where no third-party approval is required in terms of homologation or independent checks. The vehicles are tested in-house by the manufacturer, and they come to the market with the declaration that they meet all the norms.
Volkswagen said it will continue with the recall process in India as it plans to adopt a holistic approach so that the problems do not crop up in future.
The company will implement technical updates in accordance with the timelines presented to the authorities.
Of the four engines from the EA 189 diesel engine family, software updates will be performed on the 1.5-litre, 1.6-litre and 2-litre engines. The 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre diesel engines will go through certain hardware tweaks.
Measures for the 1.2-litre diesel engines will be announced shortly, the company said.
The existing software does not affect the handling, technical safety or the roadworthiness of the car, it clarified.
As per the records of Volkswagen Group India, from 2008 to November-end, approximately 198,500 cars from Volkswagen, 88,700 cars from Skoda and 36,500 cars from Audi sold in India were equipped with the EA 189 engine series.
The company said that it will start the recall from the first quarter of 2016 and the process will be continued in a step-wise manner.
All the customers will be informed directly by the respective brands. All necessary technical measures will be implemented at no cost to the customers.
“Based on the current situation, Volkswagen Group India will continue the production and sales of the cars with EA 189 engines in India," the company said.
In September, Volkswagen admitted to the irregularities concerning a particular software used in diesel engines in “some 11 million vehicles worldwide".
Matthias Müller, the new chief executive officer of Volkswagen AG, said the company will start a global recall of affected vehicles in January, and the process will be completed by 2016-end.