The Environmental Protection Agency took the rare step of recalling more than 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi cars for using a “defeat device” to force the cars to comply with emissions standards, the New York Times reported.
The California Air Resources Board and EPA slammed the automaker for using the device that can detect when the car is being tested for emissions and implement full pollutant controls to curb nitrogen oxide emissions.
“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” Cynthia Giles, the E.P.A.’s assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance, said in a statement. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, E.P.A. is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. E.P.A. will continue to investigate these very serious violations.”
Last month, TTAC reader Stephen reported that his newly ordered 2016 Audi A3 TDI was being held at port for months for months for an EPA hold. We reached out to Audi, and they reported the same, directing us to the EPA who reported that the cars had not yet received a Certificate of Compliance.
According to the EPA, researches at West Virginia University, working with the International Council on Clean Transportation, uncovered the devices.
When pressed by the government agency, Volkswagen admitted in September that the cars used the illegal device to pass emissions.
The recall signals the changing relationship between government and automakers, who’ve in the past had a fairly cozy relationship. This month, safety regulators issued recalls for more than 1.7 million Fiat Chrysler Automobile models and penalized General Motors $900 million.