EPA Recalling Volkswagens, Audis for Bogus Emissions Tests

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
epa recalling volkswagens audis for bogus emissions tests

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.

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  • Driver8 Driver8 on Sep 19, 2015

    Meh. The landscaper's truck in front of me in traffic yesterday probably belched more crap in one trip than every single recalled VW TDI combined.

  • Dwford Dwford on Sep 19, 2015

    Does this mean we are truly hitting a peak with what the automakers can do with combustion engines? We have several automakers getting caught fudging MPG numbers, now VW purposely programs their cars to cheat the EPA emissions test.

    • See 2 previous
    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Sep 19, 2015

      @tedward Didn't know that. Not a fan since our 1982 Quantum and 1982 4000. But I did drive a diesel Passat in Germany for about six weeks while visiting family there a couple of months back. Unremarkable. Accelerated like a limping dog on tranquilizers. Never felt the pain of fill-ups since we filled up on the nearby American base as military retirees.

  • Der_Kommissar Der_Kommissar on Sep 19, 2015

    I may very well have bought a 2015 GolfSportWagen SE TDI last month if the internet sales lady did not include a $2000 paint protection package in the OTD price I asked for. When I complained, she took $500 off the price of the fluff. I figured there was no point in even negotiating with them after that. It was clear they had no intention of selling it for the advertised price.


    Seems ominous that it was only midweek last week that I was building a potential TDI Sportwagon replacement for my 05 LGT. Shame on me for even thinking to replace it...