February 1, 2016 / 8:37 PM / 3 years ago

Volkswagen faces Tuesday U.S. deadline for SUV emission repair plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) faces a Feb. 2 deadline to submit a repair plan for 80,000 diesel SUVs and larger cars that emit excess pollution, even as it considers buying back some vehicles and a prior fix plan for smaller vehicles was rejected.

File photo of Volkswagen cars parked outside a VW dealership in London, Britain November 5, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/Files

The second largest automaker still hasn’t announced any timetable for winning approval from U.S. and California regulators to address excess emissions in 575,000 2.0 and 3.0 liter U.S. vehicles. In September, VW first acknowledged installing software that allowed diesel vehicles to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution.

Last week, VW won approval to start fixing 8.5 million vehicles in Europe. VW says excess diesel emissions impact up to 11 million vehicles worldwide.

VW must submit a plan to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to recall and fix about 80,000 3.0 liter SUVs, including the 2009-2016 VW Touareg, 2013-2016 Porsche Cayenne and 2014-2016 Audi A6 Quattro, Audi A7 Quattro, Audi A8, Audi A8L, Audi Q5 and 2009-2016 Audi Q7.

Unreported auxiliary vehicle software allowed those vehicles to emit up to nine times legally allowable pollution levels, the EPA said in November.

ARB on Nov. 25 gave VW until Feb. 2 to file the recall plan. A board spokesman, David Clegern, declined Monday to say if VW has met the deadline. “We expect to update the situation tomorrow,” Clegern said.

Audi of America spokesman Mark Clothier also declined Monday to say if the company had met the deadline.

A stop sale remains in place barring the U.S. sale of VW’s 2016 diesel vehicles. No progress has been reported after VW CEO Matthias Mueller met with Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy on Jan. 13.

The Justice Department sued VW on Jan. 4 seeking up to $46 billion in damages for emissions violations. EPA spokeswoman Laura Allen said Monday the agency “continues ongoing technical discussions on potential solutions for the two-liter vehicles in parallel with the federal court action.”

Last month, California rejected VW’s proposal to fix 482,000 2.0 liter cars, calling it “substantially deficient.”

Clegern said after ARB rejected VW’s 2.0 liter proposal “we shifted the case onto a broader field; one where we can discuss settlement terms beyond a recall — buyback, mitigation, etc.”

At a Jan. 21 court hearing, VW lawyer Robert Giuffra said a buyback is possible “but that hasn’t been determined yet,” according to a court transcript.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by David Gregorio

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