(Reuters) - Volkswagen, seeking to end a scandal that has sullied its reputation, has announced a sweeping U.S. deal to buy back or potentially fix about a half million polluting diesel cars and set up environmental and consumer compensation funds.
Following is the state of play in European markets:
VW set out the following plans for affected EA189 diesel engines in Germany and other EU markets last December.
- The 1.2-litre and 2.0-litre engines would get a software update. The pure labor time was estimated at just under half an hour.
- The 1.6-litre engines would also get a software update. In addition, a “flow rectifier” was to be fitted right in front of the air mass sensor. The labor time for implementing these measures will be less than an hour.
After the measures have been implemented, the vehicles will fulfill the duly applicable emissions standards, with the aim of achieving this without any impairment of engine output, fuel consumption or performance, VW said.
The plan was that all affected vehicles would be called into dealerships in several waves for the technical solutions to be implemented.
The technical measures were to be implemented on the affected 2.0-litre engines from the first quarter of 2016.
The technical measures for the affected 1.2-litre engines were scheduled for the end of the second quarter. From the third quarter of 2016, concluding the recall, the measures will be implemented on the affected vehicles with 1.6-litre engines.
VW has not yet completed the recall of its cars in Germany. VW is waiting for the Federal Motor Transport Authority KBA to approve suggested technical solutions to fix its vehicles. So far, the company has only recalled a fraction of its vehicles, and delayed the recall of its Passat and Skoda models after software fixes aimed at fixing emissions violations failed to work.
VW said most of the cars affected in Europe had diesel engines such as VW’s top-selling Golf, Audi’s A3 hatchback and the Skoda Octavia but two models were gasoline: the VW Polo and the Audi A1, both with 1.4-litre engines.
In Europe’s second-largest car market Britain, where VW said there were 1.2 million affected cars, the carmaker wrote to all customers in October shortly after the scandal broke, and again in December.
VW began recalling around 2,000 Amarok pick-up trucks in January for a half-an-hour software update.
Since the start of April, VW began making software changes to some SEAT Exeo and Audi A4 and A5 2.0 liter models in Britain.
From around September, the company will begin fitting air flow transformers and make software changes to 1.6 liter models.
It said it expects to have begun work on all vehicle types by the end of the year.
VW has said it will not pay compensation to British drivers.
In France, VW has announced recalls covering almost 950,000 vehicles, most of which are to receive upgrades to the software managing their 2-litre diesel engines. The program, which started in February with the Amarok truck and will run through 2017 as it extends to the Passat and other models, has so far dealt with 500 of the pickups.
Vehicles with VW’s smaller 1.6-litre diesel will also need a new plastic part installed, an air flow regulator.
VW France chief Jacques Rivoal said in February no financial compensation would be offered in Europe because owners in the region had suffered “no prejudice ” – unlike their counterparts in the United States, where NOx emissions performance has contractual value in vehicle sales. “An American client with a diesel EA189 engine can no longer sell their vehicle,” he told French lawmakers.
In line with company policy, the local VW business said customers had been invited to have a fix applied to their diesel cars, starting with the Amarok, followed by the Passat.
It gave no details on how many vehicles had been refitted.
As of October 2015, there were the following VW group vehicles on the road in Italy -- Volkswagen 385,694, Audi 231,729, SEAT 35,343, Skoda: 39,598, Volkswagen Commercial vehicles: 17,348.
VW said 230,000 cars were affected in Sweden. The company has so far serviced about 500 Amaroks. In the past few days, VW sent letters regarding servicing to owners of the Audi A4, A5 and Q5 as well as the SEAT Exeo.
VW has agreed with the Swedish Transport Agency that affected cars can be modified when they are brought in for routine service, rather than immediately.
VW sent two emails, in November and December, to affected owners in Spain promising to recall cars and repair them “in the next few months”, assuming all costs.
The group has recognized that 683,636 vehicles were affected in Spain, including Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat and VW commercial vehicles.
According to the Expansion newspaper on Friday, the company has fixed all privately owned VW Amaroks, though is still to turn to company cars. VW will “shortly” be moving on to Audi A4, A5, Q5 and SEAT Exeo with diesel engines.
No one at VW’s offices in Spain could be immediately reached for comment.
Reporting by Edward Taylor, Gilles Guillaume, Niklas Pollard, Paul Day, Costas Pitas and Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Keith Weir and Susan Fenton
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