Dieselgate: VW to apply updates to 1.6 TDI engine, but insists defeat devices “compliant with European law”

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A new round of recalls for Volkswagen’s 1.6 litre diesel engine is forthcoming, following its official approval by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) in Germany. This latest episode involves 2.6 million cars in Europe specified with said diesel engine, including models from Audi, Seat, Skoda, as well as the group’s core brand, Volkswagen.

As with recalls prior, owners of the affected vehicles will be contacted by the company, and the changes will be applied in weeks to come, with the associated costs fully borne by the Volkswagen Group. In an interesting turn of stance, the automaker group said that the software which caused its products to fall foul of emissions regulations actually does not violate European law, according to a Reuters report.

“The software contained in vehicles with a EA189 engine in the view of Volkswagen represents no unlawful defeat device under European law. The efficiency of the emissions cleanup system will not be reduced in those vehicles which, however, would be a prerequisite for the existence of an unlawful defeat device in the legal sense,” VW said in an email cited by Reuters.

Volkswagen Touareg TDI

Although VW believes that the original software is compliant, it says it is following orders and refitting cars out of goodwill. “Volkswagen wants to – in the special interest of customers – cooperate constructively and cooperatively hand in hand with the regulators as well as with the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority. This intensive cooperation should not be burdened by a contentious dispute,” it said.

Separately, Volkswagen was reported as denying views held by Germany’s Federal Environmental Agency and other health lobbies, that nitrogen oxides are harmful to human health and the environment. “A reliable determination of morbidity or even fatalities for certain demographic groups based on our level of knowledge is not possible from a scientific point of view,” VW said.

This update for the 1.6 litre diesel engine is the latest in a long line of episodes concerning the Volkswagen Group’s run-in with regulators, in light of discoveries that illegal software was used to circumvent emissions laws both in Europe and in the United States.

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Mick Chan

Open roads and closed circuits hold great allure for Mick Chan. Driving heaven to him is exercising a playful chassis on twisty paths; prizes ergonomics and involvement over gadgetry. Spent three years at a motoring newspaper and short stint with a magazine prior to joining this website.


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