Home >Politics >Policy >Don’t sell cars with ‘cheat device’: NGT to Volkswagen
In the US, the group’s diesel vehicles’ emission levels were found to be 40 times above permissible levels. Photo: AFP
In the US, the group’s diesel vehicles’ emission levels were found to be 40 times above permissible levels. Photo: AFP

Don’t sell cars with ‘cheat device’: NGT to Volkswagen

NGT was hearing a petition by a private party that accused the group of violating India's emission norms and sought a ban on the manufacture and sale of its vehicles

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday directed the Volkswagen Group to give an undertaking by 11 January that it would not sell any vehicle fitted with a ‘cheat device’ in India.

The tribunal was hearing a petition by a private party that accused the group of violating India’s emission norms and sought a ban on the manufacture and sale of its vehicles.

On 30 November, a bench of the tribunal led by chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises, the Central Pollution Control Board, the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, Volkswagen and its subsidiaries—Skoda Auto AS and Audi AG.

Earlier, the government issued a showcause notice to Volkswagen after the Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (Arai) found variations in on-road emission levels in diesel engine models of Volkswagen Jetta, Skoda Octavia, Audi A4 and Audi A6 models.

The petition argued that all models sold by Skoda and Audi in India are being manufactured using key components, design and technology provided by Volkswagen and are in violation of environmental norms as per the preliminary tests carried out by Arai.

The ministry of heavy industries had directed Arai to carry out measurements and assess whether vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen in India are also likely to be using the defeat device after Volkswagen’s global disclosure.

On Wednesday, the government told the tribunal that steps are being taken to mitigate the impact of Volkswagen’s disclosure on India.

Volkswagen has agreed to recall a total of 3.23 lakh vehicles in India.

On 1 December, after it issued the recall, Volkswagen disagreed with Arai’s findings that said its vehicles fitted with engines from its EA 189 diesel engine family are in breach of emission levels and that over 300,000 of them could be fitted with the controversial defeat device.

The device allows cars to meet emission control norms by showing lower levels of pollutants in test conditions than when in ordinary use. In the US, the group’s diesel vehicles’ emission levels were found to be 40 times above permissible levels.

“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 violating the Bharat Stage (BS) IV emission norms in India. Volkswagen Group India will respond to the order from NGT by the deadline given," said a Volkswagen India spokesperson. The case will be heard next on 5 February.

Amrit Raj and Priyanka Mittal contributed to this story.

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