Volkswagen's Diesel Cars Have Been Sitting At U.S. Ports For Months
Back in July, TTAC reader Stephen told us that his recently ordered 2016 Audi A3 TDI was sitting at port for an unknown reason and his dealer and Audi couldn’t give him much of a reason why.
“(The cars) are being held at the port as they have not been cleared by Quality and Logistics to be released for port processing yet,” a distribution advocate for Audi wrote in July.
As weeks wore on, Stephen alerted us to the varied responses he received from Audi, which ranged from “quality review” to “government certification.” We reached out to Audi on his behalf and heard from a spokesman that the cars were sitting at port awaiting a certificate of compliance from the Environmental Protection Agency, despite being identical to 2015 models that had already been certified.
A spokeswoman for the EPA said the government could withhold any car from entering the U.S. if there were any problems with emissions.
“If EPA finds issues with emissions on any vehicle, we would take action,” the spokeswoman wrote in August. ” … it can and sometimes does happen if a manufacturer has shipped a car that does not yet have a valid COC. As we mentioned above, it is illegal to enter cars into commerce before they have a valid COC. If this were a domestic manufacturer they would just keep the cars on their property and delay shipping them to dealers.”
We talked with representatives from Audi in August and they didn’t indicate any issue with the cars. An official with the EPA didn’t say that the diesel cars were being held for specified problems. Users at VWVortex reported that some (but not all) of their Jetta TDI models were being held at port for quality checks.
We reached out to Audi on Friday and to the EPA on Monday to see if the July holds were related to recent news that investigators uncovered “defeat devices” on the diesel cars that would allow the cars to cheat and pass emission tests.
(Note to readers: We received the note from a reader in July and decided not to pursue the story after discussing with other manufacturers normal wait times at U.S. ports. Some reported that cars could sit at ports for months. Nothing from the EPA indicated the extraordinary circumstances that VW cars are currently in.)
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