German watchdog recalls VW Touaregs over defeat devices

FILE PHOTO: A Volkswagen logo is pictured at the International Auto Show in Mexico City, Mexico November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

HAMBURG/BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's KBA automotive watchdog on Tuesday announced a recall of Volkswagen's VOWG_p.DE flagship European sport-utility vehicles (SUV) with 3-litre diesel engines after detecting two illicit emissions control devices in the models.

New evidence of Volkswagen’s deployment of defeat devices continues to emerge more than two years after its emissions-test cheating scandal exploded in the United States. Europe’s biggest carmaker has been working to draw a line under the affair.

The recall of the Touareg model of the latest Euro 6 diesel generation was ordered on Dec. 8 and affects 57,600 models globally, about half or 25,800 of which in Volkswagen’s (VW) German home market, the KBA said by email.

“Two inadmissable switch-off devices were found upon examination of the VW Touareg 3.0-litre diesel Euro 6 by the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority,” it said.

The move follows a recall by German authorities in July of 22,000 Porsche Cayenne SUVs in Europe, the Touareg's sister model which shares the same modular platform and also uses the 3.0 litre engine developed by premium VW stable mate Audi NSUG.DE.

KBA said that an emissions-lowering “warming-up strategy” that got activated on the Touareg model when the vehicle was examined in static roller-bed tests carried out under the new European driving cycle (NEFZ) did not, for the most part, go into operation in road testing.

Also, KBA said that on Touareg models fitted with costlier selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, it detected a strategy that, under certain conditions, illegally restricts the use of AdBlue, a urea-based liquid needed to help filter nitrogen oxides from diesel emissions.

The world’s biggest automaker has adjusted production of the Touareg and developed a new engine software to help fix the affected vehicles, KBA said.

VW, which in September 2015 admitted to systematic manipulation of engine management software to rig emissions tests, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Georgina Prodhan