Volkswagen Recall Ordered on Almost 500,000 Vehicles

October 2, 2015

Last week, Volkswagen was ordered to recall nearly 500,000 cars for allegedly using a software program in certain models of their cars from 2009 to 2015 that violates emission regulations. Volkswagen was issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the 18th.

The software that Volkswagen is accused of installing in their cars can allegedly detect when the car is being tested for emissions. When it detects the test, the software turns the emission restrictors on full. However, at any other point when the car is not being tested, the software supposedly turns off the emission controls. This allows the car to operate while causing pollution up to “40 times above the EPA compliant levels,” according to the violation notice.

The problem was first discovered by researchers in West Virginia who found that a few VWs had very high emissions. Volkswagen replied saying that technical issues were to blame for the false report, which the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the EPA were quick to disprove. The EPA issued an ultimatum that they would not certify the new 2016 diesel models until the reason for the emission errors was determined. It was then that the company came clean about the software.

This violation is similar to a previous case in which Hyundai and Kia were fined $300 million for overstating their fuel-economy standards. Unfortunately, Volkswagen’s sin could be much more costly, both monetarily and environmentally.

The company has said that they plan on dedicating $7.3 billion to “cover the necessary service measures and other efforts to win back the trust of our customers.” The EPA could potentially fine Volkswagen $18 billion in the future as well, although further cooperation and efforts to remedy the problem may see the amount reduced.

The ordeal will still be very costly as the company will have to deal with a number of other issues besides the fine and the recalls. There are also possible class-action lawsuits, lowered sales and maybe even criminal charges to contend with.

A Volkswagen executive in the U.S. made a statement on the 21st saying that “we have totally screwed up,” to which we all reply, “You think?!”

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