Emission ghost haunts Volkswagen in India

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Globally, the world’s largest carmaker has announced a decision to recall 11 million vehicles after the scandal came to light on September 18.
MUMBAI: The emission scandal that broke out in the US has come to haunt German automaker Volkswagen in India, too.
The company’s representatives in India on Thursday met officials at the Ministry of Heavy industries and the Automotive Research Association of India, India’s apex vehicle testing agency, to apprise them of the evaluations on the ongoing emissions issue with reference to India.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the company said Volkswagen Group India would present the results of the evaluations by November-end.
“Since there is a complex combination of several brands, various models, different engine variants and gearboxes, as well as different model years that need to be analysed, establishing detailed facts is taking a longer time,” went the statement.
Last month, the government had directed ARAI to initiate a probe on Volkswagen engines to determine whether those used in India had the same ‘cheat software’ that led to a worldwide recall, the biggest in Volkswagen’s history.
Globally, the world’s largest carmaker has announced a decision to recall 11 million vehicles after the scandal came to light on September 18.
These vehicles have EA 189 diesel engines and emission-test defeating software.
During this period, the company would “stay in regular touch with ARAI to keep the authorities updated on the analysis and the next steps will depend on the findings from these evaluations,” the statement added.
Engines fitted in the Polo, Jetta and Vento models in India are from the same family of engines — EA189 — that have put Volkswagen in the line of fire in the US.
ARAI carried out random checks of Volkswagen cars to check for emission.
It had committed to file a report on the matter by the end of this month.
The damage might not be restricted to Volkswagen’s brands alone.
The German automaker shares engines with its sister brands too, which would bring SkodaAuto and Audi under the scanner, too.
Though media reports, quoting unnamed sources, said Volkswagen might recall 100,000 diesel cars in India as part of the emission-related software problem, the company denied any such decision had been taken.
If the figure eventually proves to be correct, it would be more than double Volkswagen’s annual sales in India. Most Volkswagen vehicles in India are equipped with diesel engines.
The German carmaker has admitted to cheating in emission tests on about 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.
Earlier this month, it said it would recall 8.5 million diesel cars across the European Union, a move prompted by the German motor transport authority’s ruling ordering a compulsory recall of all affected 2.4 million Volkswagens in that country.
In its statement, Volkswagen said the cars that remained with Indian consumers were technically safe and road-worthy.
But the scandal has hit the company’s sales in India. In September, sales dipped for the first time, after seven months of consistent growth.
Domestic sales declined 21 per cent to 3,226 units in September.
The company’s dispatches of 3,226 units were the lowest in the past 15 months.
Globally, the German carmaker reported a loss for the quarter ended September, its first quarterly loss in as many as 15 years.
It also reported an operating loss of euro 3.48 billion.
Since the past few weeks Volkswagen has systematically and voluntarily announced recalls in various countries.
Earlier this month, it initiated a recall of about 100,000 vehicles affected by the diesel emission scandal in Australia.

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