Volkswagen Australia admits it sold 91,000 vehicles with emissions-masking software

Photo: Getty Images

Volkswagen Group Australia confirmed today that around 90,000 diesel VWs, Skodas and Audis sold in Australia were fitted with the software that masked the true emissions levels on the vehicles.

The admission will see 54,745 VW cars and 17,256 vans, plus 5148 Skoda models, as well as 14,028 Audis, built between 2009 to 2015, recalled.

The software, designed to deceive emissions tests, has caused a global scandal for Germany’s largest automaker. The parent company has already set aside around $10 billion for compensation and recall repairs alone, but that figure is expected to climb dramatically as the extent of the problem continues to emerge.

Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC, is investigating the issue and may launch legal action costing the automaker tens of millions of dollars in fines for making misleading claims.

The company could also be hit with a $108,000 per car fines for using false documents to gain Australian roadworthiness certification.

A European recall of the faulty cars is expected to begin in January 2016 and take all year.

The Australian-based vehicles involved include popular passenger cars such as the Golf, Polo, Jetta, Passat, Eos and Tiguan. The commercial vehicles are the Caddy and Amarok.

The 5000 Skodas are the Octavia, Yeti and Superb.

Over the weekend, the company suspended sales of vehicles fitted with 1.6L and 2.0L EA189 diesel engines “until the emissions issues are addressed”.

“Volkswagen Australia deeply regrets these issues and wants to ensure that our owners are well-informed about our action plan and next steps,” the company said on a new website set up to deal with the scandal. Customers can use the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to check if their car is affected.

But the problem at this point is VW does not have solution to the problem, so “customers do not need to take any further action”.

The challenge for VW engineers will be a fix that does not dramatically reduce power and increase maintenance costs.

In a statement released this afternoon, Volkswagen Group Australia managing director, John White said the local outpost was “continuing to gather all the facts from our head office to support any rectification plans in Australia”.

He said the affected vehicles were “technically safe” and driveable.

“We understand the disappointment and frustration felt by our customers, dealers and partners in Australia and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We are doing everything possible to fix the problem and will be making further announcements in the near future,” he said.

Here are the cars affected:

Volkswagen Passenger Cars (54,745 cars)
Golf (2009-13)
Polo (2009-14)
Jetta (2010-15)
Passat CC (2008-12)
Volkswagen CC (2011-15)
Passat (2008-15)
Eos (2008-14)
Tiguan (2008-15)

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (17,256 cars)
Caddy (2010-15)
Amarok (2011-12)

ŠKODA (5148 cars)
Octavia (2009-13)
Yeti (2011-15)
Superb (2009-15)

Audi (14,208 cars)
A1 (current generation)
A3 (previous generation)
A4 (current generation)
A5 (current generation)
A6 (current generation)
Q5 (current generation 2.0 TDI)
TT (previous generation)

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