It's important to note that these vehicles run software with a so-called "defeat device" that kicks in when the on-board computer senses that it is being tested for emissions. When the car is operating normally – in other words, when its exhaust isn't being sniffed – the cars do not meet US emissions standards. According to the EPA and the California Air Resources Board, affected cars emit as much as 40 times the allowable level of certain pollutants.
"We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to
clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case," according to Winterkorn, who added, "Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation of this matter." It's not yet known who will carry out this investigation.
At present, there are still a number of 2015 Volkswagen models on dealer lots that do not meet emissions requirements. VW has issued a stop sale on vehicles equipped with the 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine. What's more, the German automaker has been barred from selling 2016 model-year vehicles that use this engine, according to The Detroit News. Last year, diesel vehicles made up about 22 percent of all VW sales, which means these restrictions will have a big impact on the brand's sales performance until a remedy is found and the vehicles are approved for sale.
Interestingly, the EPA has started a campaign of sorts to test vehicles from other automakers that sell diesel-powered vehicles in the United States to make sure they comply with emissions requirements under all operating circumstances. The EPA says it "will be reviewing [its] compliance protocols and introducing ways in which [it] can effectively test not only for emissions performance but also for the potential presence of defeat devices," according to a statement provided to The Detroit News.
Check out the full statement from VW CEO Martin Winterkorn below.
Sep 20, 2015
Wolfsburg, September 20, 2015 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (EPA and CARB) revealed their findings that while testing diesel cars of the Volkswagen Group they have detected manipulations that
violate American environmental standards.
The Board of Management at Volkswagen AG takes these findings very seriously. I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public. We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to
clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case. Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation of this matter.
We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law.
The trust of our customers and the public is and continues to be our most important asset. We at Volkswagen will do everything that must be done in order to re-establish the trust that so many people have placed in us, and we will do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage this has caused. This matter has first priority for me, personally, and for our entire Board of Management.