Car manufacturer Volkswagen has announced it is withdrawing the sale of selected diesel cars across the VW, Audi and Skoda range in Australia, effective immediately, as the company addresses the emissions cheating scandal.
“In its first step, effective immediately (Volkswagen Group Australia) has temporarily suspended the sale of affected vehicles fitted with 1.6 or 2.0-liter EA189 diesel engines,” Volkswagen said in a statement today.
“The suspension will remain until the emission issues are addressed in those vehicles.”
Banned models include “diesel versions of the Golf hatchback, Tiguan SUV, Passat sedan and wagon, Audi A4 sedan and wagon, Audi A5 coupe, Audi Q5 2.0 TDI SUV and the Skoda Yeti SUV and Skoda Superb sedan and wagon”, according to News Limited.
These models make up 10% of the total sales across the three brands.
On Friday, representatives between Volkswagen and Audi Australia and federal government authorities, including members from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, met in Canberra to discuss the approval of certain vehicle models.
Australia’s consumer watchdog, ACCC, warned that VW, Audi and Skoda could be fined a total of $3.3 million for breaching vehicle regulations.
“Using defeat devices is specifically prohibited under the Australian Design Rules, which are picked up as Australian Consumer Law (ACL) mandatory safety standards,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
“As the enforcer of the (Australian Consumer Law), the ACCC can take action against any corporation that has breached mandatory standards.”
If fined, Volkswagen may face the largest fine issued in Australia’s automotive industry, surpassing Toyota’s $247 million infringement in 2010 for transfer pricing.
VW, Audi and Skoda have yet to issue a recall locally. A recall would likely result in car owners returning vehicles to dealerships to have their diesel engine computers refitted with the newest software.
Switzerland has already banned sales of affected cars which have not yet been sold or registered from the German car maker after it was revealed the automotive giant had used software to alter its diesel emissions during testing.
In Australia, around 40,000 diesel engine cars produced by Volkswagen since 2009 could be affected, and more than 11 million vehicles worldwide.
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