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Montevideo, November 18th 2018 - 12:38 UTC

US Justice Department seeking billions of dollars from Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche

Tuesday, January 5th 2016 - 08:22 UTC
Full article 8 comments
“Car manufacturers that fail to properly certify their cars and that defeat emission control systems breach the public trust endanger public health,” said John Cruden “Car manufacturers that fail to properly certify their cars and that defeat emission control systems breach the public trust endanger public health,” said John Cruden
VW allegedly equipped certain 2.0 liter vehicles with software that detects when the car is being tested for EPA compliance and then turns on “full emissions controls” VW allegedly equipped certain 2.0 liter vehicles with software that detects when the car is being tested for EPA compliance and then turns on “full emissions controls”

The United States Justice Department has filed a federal lawsuit against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche that seeks billions of dollars in penalties over claims that the car companies installed devices to deliberately misreport emissions. Nearly 600,000 diesel-engine vehicles were installed with these devices since 2009.

 In many cases, the vehicles being sold in the United States with so-called “defeat devices” sent as much as 40 times the pollutants into the air as allowed under U.S. law, the Justice Department said.

The Justice Department also alleges that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by applying for certification from the Environment Protection Agency with certain vehicle designs but then importing vehicles with different designs.

“Car manufacturers that fail to properly certify their cars and that defeat emission control systems breach the public trust [and] endanger public health,” particularly by emitting pollutants linked with asthma and other serious respiratory illnesses into the atmosphere, the head of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, said in a statement.

He vowed to seek “all appropriate remedies.”

The federal civil complaint was filed in Detroit, where a senior Justice Department official said much of the “important activity has occurred.” The Justice Department expects to “tag along” with hundreds of private class-action lawsuits from across the country whose pretrial motions are currently being overseen by a federal judge in San Francisco.

As outlined by the Justice Department suit, Volkswagen allegedly equipped certain 2.0 liter vehicles with software that detects when the car is being tested for EPA compliance and then turns on “full emissions controls.” That produces emissions during testing that are “way different” from actual on-the-road emissions, according to the Justice Department official.

The Justice Department alleges similar deception in certain 3.0 liter vehicles. The lawsuit filed today doesn't mean criminal charges may not be filed later, according to the Justice Department official.

In a statement responding to the new lawsuit, Volkswagen noted the allegations by the Justice Department “have been the subject of EPA investigations and allege violations of the same provisions of the Clean Air Act as were noted in the EPA’s September 18 and November 2 Notices of Violation.”

“Volkswagen will continue to work cooperatively with the EPA on developing remedies to bring the ... vehicles into full compliance with regulations as soon as possible,” the Volkswagen statement said. The car company is also working “to develop an independent, fair and swift process for resolving private consumer claims relating to these issues,” the statement added.

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  • ChrisR

    You have to love the yanks!

    First they specify tests for emissions compliance which MAKES the manufacturers HAVE to take special measures such as extremely low wheel speeds for single axle testing (otherwise the electronic controls designed to safeguard passengers will defeat it).

    AND then, when their tests are shown to be simplistic and easily 'defeated' as far as they are concerned they go batshit crazy and want billions in fines.

    Why? Has anyone died or even become ill from these cars emissions? The answer is they don't know, they are only surmising the 'wrongs' and it was a source of extreme embarrassment when a couple of academics carried out real life tests and found the 'failures'. Red faces all round!

    Jan 05th, 2016 - 06:52 pm 0
  • Troy Tempest

    1 Chris

    Agreed, “red faces”!

    Naturally the Yanks are pissed off - an embarrassingly widespread fraud has been perpetrated.

    Environmental impact? How could you possibly measure or estimate it?

    However, if VW were allowed to do this with impunity, and all the other manufacturers did the same, there would be a perceptible difference in pollutants released into the atmosphere.

    This was a major blunder by VW mgmt to think they could get away with this indefinitely and without consequence.

    Fortunately for the German car industry, and Porsche/Audi (VW) in particular, China is now taking a significant share of their premium export products, and the USA no longer dictates the terms of product development as they once did.

    Jan 05th, 2016 - 07:39 pm 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 2 Troy Tempest
    “ there would be a perceptible difference in pollutants released into the atmosphere. ”

    The yanks consistently mix up the 'pollutants' such as carbon monoxide with carbon dioxide and of course nitrous oxide, after all, they are the same, aren't they?

    I would have some sympathy if they concentrated the effort on particulates from oil engines but no mention of those.

    China needs well made cars, their own are highly polluting and very dangerous to passenger and pedestrians involved in crashes.

    Jan 05th, 2016 - 09:50 pm 0
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