Volkswagen group to recall 3.23 lakh cars in India; VW, Skoda, Audi cars affected

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New Delhi | Updated: Dec 03, 2015 9:15 PM

Volkswagen Group India has released an official statement which says it is issuing a voluntary recall for approximately 3,23,700 cars...

Volkswagen will initiate a communication program to reach out to the owners of cars with EA 189 engines through the respective brands. (Reuters)Volkswagen will initiate a communication program to reach out to the owners of cars with EA 189 engines through the respective brands. (Reuters)

Volkswagen Group India has released an official statement which says it is issuing a voluntary recall for approximately 3,23,700 cars (figures as on end of November 2015). The recall affects all the cars sold from 2008 till the end of November 2015 that are fitted with 1.2-litre, 1.5-litre, 1.6-litre, and 2.0-litre EA 189 diesel engines.

The recall includes 1,98,500 units of all Volkswagen brand cars fitted with the EA 189 diesel engine, while Skoda and Audi will recall 88,700 and 36,500 units respectively.

Volkswagen will initiate a communication program to reach out to the owners of cars with EA 189 engines through the respective brands.

While there has not been any official word on the technical solution, it is known that the cars in India will be served with the same solution that has been developed for the international models. According to the latest reports, Volkswagen has developed a rather simple solution to counter the effect of the ‘defeat device’ that was found installed in the cars fitted with EA 189 diesel engine.

According to an official note, the technical solution for the EA 189 1.6-litre engine will feature a so-called ‘flow transformer’ will be installed in front of the air flow sensor which will stabilise the air flow and allow for more precise measurement of the incoming fresh air flow which, as a result, fuel can be metered more accurately to ensure most efficient combustion process.

According to the latest communication on technical solutions, the EA 189 2.0-litre diesel engine will need a software upgrade only, while the 1.6-litre engine will get the hardware fix mentioned above in addition to software alteration.

The advancements and development around the air intake system and the simulation data for the EA 189 engine showed that a simple solution like an air flow transformer was able to reduce the emission levels dramatically, and bring it under the globally accepted levels. It is expected that the physical implementation of the hardware system for the 1.6-litre engine will take less than one hour, and in case of the 2.0-litre engine the software upgrade will be completed in as little as 30 minutes.

Volkswagen says a “customer-friendly” remedy has been determined for most of the affected vehicles, and the vehicles remain otherwise technically safe and road worthy until the respective technical measures can be implemented.

The Indian landscape also got a 4-cylinder, 1.5-litre derivative of the 1.6-litre engine thereby expanding the EA 189 engine range to four — 1.2-litre, 1.5-litre, 1.6-litre, and 2.0-litre displacement engines. While Volkswagen has developed technical fix for 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre engines, a solution for the 3-cylinder 1.2-litre diesel engine is still under development.

It all started in September 2015 when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States discovered that Volkswagen cars being sold in the US were fitted with a ‘defeat device’ — a software that altered its performance and emissions when it sensed that it was being run in ‘test condition’ by monitoring speed, engine operation, and even steering wheel position etc.

Following the scandal in US, Volkswagen admitted that about 11 million cars worldwide were fitted with the same software. It was found in independent tests that the engines emitted nitrogen oxide up to 40 times above the norms.

While Volkswagen’s global CEO, Matthias Müller, has announced that the company will increase its expenditure on alternate drive technologies by approximately Euro 100 million, the planned investments in “property, plant and equipment, investment property and intangible assets, excluding capitalized development costs (capex)” is going to be capped at approximately Euro 12 billion against the previous estimate of Euro 13 billion.

Volkswagen Group India has issued a statement according to which the company believes that the cars in India sold with the EA 189 Diesel engine aren’t fitted with the ‘defeat device’ which has been at the nucleus of the diesel scandal for over two months.

VW in India will, however, continue to upgrade the cars fitted with the EA 189 engines with the technical solution developed by Volkswagen in Germany under a voluntary recall that the company announced a couple of days ago.
While VW says that its cars in India do not violate Bharat Stage IV (BS4) emission norms, the decision to continue with the recall and implementing the technical solution is being viewed as a move to be in sync with organizational protocol at a global level.

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