Home / Technology / VW now admits not one diesel it sold in the US since 2009 met emissions standards

VW now admits not one diesel it sold in the US since 2009 met emissions standards

In the nearly two months since the VW scandal first broke, the German automaker has repeatedly broadened the scope of the problem. First, it was a problem with a limited number of US vehicles. Then it was a problem on several million cars. Then some of the company’s other brands were impacted. Today, VW finally came all the way clean: Not one VW or Audi sold in the United States from the 2009 to 2016 model years met US regulations.

The “good” news, if you want to call it that, is that there’s a really simple way to tell if your diesel is affected. Does it say VW or Audi on it, and is it 2009 or newer? Then you’re affected. The bad news is that this affects more US vehicles — an additional 85,000, according to the EPA. The Porsche Cayenne is also affected; Porsche’s brand had escaped tarnish thus far.

The engine is gorgeous. The tailpipe, not so much.

The engine is gorgeous. The tailpipe, not so much.

The 3.0-liter vehicles covered in this new announcement aren’t accused of using “defeat devices,” but apparently deployed “alternative exhaust control devices.” Exactly what the difference is between the two is unclear, but either way, this is more hot water for a company that’s already been hammered in the past few months. The EPA is still testing to see if the pollution control devices also qualify as defeat devices. Presumably an emission control system that cheats and lies about how much pollution it dumps in the air still qualifies as an “alternative” pollution control system — just a really bad one.

VW is claiming that the software it used on 3.0-liter vehicles in the US is legal in the EU, but we suspect the EU’s regulators will want to check that for themselves. VW has announced that it would slash spending by $ 1.1 billion next year, and invest in fewer products, factories, and other initiatives. The firm has already set aside several billion dollars to deal with damages, but as the scandal has grown, that amount looks woefully incomplete. VW is theoretically on the hook for up to $ 21 billion in fines, but that’s not a realistic sum either — the EPA will likely bring a suit for a substantial amount of money, but it won’t be anywhere near that high.

It’s hard to see how the US arm of the VW scandal could get much worse for the company, since it’s already had to admit that every single diesel it sold since 2009 failed to meet the then-new 50-state environmental standards. Then again, the EPA is probably going to be curious about the state of VW’s gasoline engines after the diesel kerfuffle. Hopefully there’s nothing hiding under that particular set of rocks.

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