California orders VW Group to fix 15,000 3.0L diesel vehicles

Latest Development Comes After Admission Of Three Auxiliary Emissions Control Devices

The California Air Resources Board has ordered Volkswagen to come up with a plan for repairing approximately 15,000 cars sold in the state that contain illegal software that may circumvent emissions testing. In a letter sent to Volkswagen Group of America and several company brands, CARB's chief emissions officer says the company has 45 business days to submit a recall plan that will fix affected Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche models equipped with 3.0-liter diesel engines sold in the state since 2009.

"We expect full cooperation in this investigation so this issue can be addressed expeditiously and appropriately," wrote Annette Herbert, chief of emissions compliance.

The violations first surfaced in a meeting last week between California regulatory officials and Audi executives. In that meeting, Audi admitted certain versions of A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7 models contained three previously undisclosed auxiliary emissions control devices.

An auxiliary device is not necessarily the same as a defeat device that intentionally cheats on emissions testing, but Audi and other affected brands hadn't disclosed the existence of the AECDs, which is a violation of the state's health and safety code. Had they been disclosed prior to vehicle certification, there's a possibility CARB may have approved use of the devices. In a statement Wednesday, CARB did not elaborate on whether it considered the three devices mere AECDs or defeat devices.

When Volkswagen submits its plan to fix the cars, CARB says it must include an assessment of how the repairs will affect fuel economy, performance, drivability, and the safety of each vehicle. The 15,000 cars affected in California are part of roughly 85,000 nationwide which contain the affected 3.0-liter engines. The US Environmental Protection Agency may soon address how it expects Volkswagen to fix the remaining cars.

" EPA and CARB are working closely and continue to investigate following the admission by Volkswagen that the issues EPA identified in the November 2nd NOV (Notice of Violations) extend to all 3.0-liter diesel Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche vehicles," an agency spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday. "EPA will take all appropriate enforcement action."

The 3.0-liter developments, of course, come on top of the company's September admission that 482,000 diesels equipped with 2.0-liter engines contain defeat devices that detect emissions testing and alter the cars' performance. In real-world driving, those cars surpassed pollutions thresholds by as much as 40 times what's allowed by law.

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