Crisis-hit German auto major Volkswagen on Thursday said its recall of 3.24 lakh vehicles in India would begin in the first quarter of 2016, even as it contested the government’s charge of committing a “well thought-out crime” by cheating on emission tests.
The company insisted its cars sold in India are not equipped with the ‘defeat device’ and they did not violate BS IV emission norms in the country. The auto maker has been found to have deployed this device to cheat on emission tests in cars sold in various countries, including the US.
A government-ordered probe here also found violations on the part of the company, following which Volkswagen earlier on Monday announced recall of 3,23,700 vehicles sold in India between 2008 and 2015.
Stating that it expects to start the recall process in the first quarter of 2016, Volkswagen Group India said it has presented its observations, findings and outlines of possible solutions on the EA189 engines, which are at the centre of the emission tests cheating controversy, to the Government of India and Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).
The firm also said it will continue to sell vehicles equipped with the EA189 engines in India.
“Volkswagen Group India has intimated why it believes that its cars are not equipped with a ‘defeat device’,” the company said in a statement.
Furthermore, the findings from the evaluations undertaken by Volkswagen Group India under the observation of ARAI show that the tested cars of the brands Volkswagen, SkodaAudi are not violating the Bharat Stage IV (BSIV) emission norms in India, it said.
On Wednesday, Union Heavy Industries minister Anant Geete had said, “The violation was detected when the on-road vehicles were tested. It is a well thought-out crime.”
The probe was ordered by the Department of Heavy Industries.
ARAI found that Volkswagen violated emission norms in India to the extent of 8-9 times of the current levels, he said, adding that his ministry is referring the matter to Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways to take action against the company.
Volkswagen said, “To come to a common conclusion on this topic, further meetings with Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will take place.”
On continued sales of vehicles powered by the EA189 engines, VW said: “Based on the current situation, Volkswagen Group India will continue the production and sales of the cars with EA189 engines in India. All technical measures will be implemented as soon as they are available.”
Elaborating on steps it planned to take in India, Volkswagen said cars with 2.0-litre engines will get a software update. In the 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre engines, a ‘flow transformer’ will be fitted in front of the air mass sensor.
“In addition, a software update will also be performed on these engines. The measure for the 1.2-litre engines will be announced shortly. The first solutions are expected to be implemented from the first quarter of 2016 and will be continued in a step-wise manner,” it said.
VW has already admitted that 11 million diesel engine cars worldwide were fitted with the software that helped in manipulating emission tests. It faces fine of up to $18 billion in the US. Earlier the company had announced vehicle recalls in other countries, including China.