WASHINGTON – The Volkswagen diesel-emissions scandal grew on Monday as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that some 2014-’16 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles with 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engines also contain illegal “defeat devices” designed to skirt U.S. clean-air standards.
The list of vehicles includes the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg, 2015 Porsche Cayenne and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5.
Federal testing discovered the existence of new defeat devices.
“VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, in a statement.
The new Notice of Violation or NOV of the Clean Air Act covers approximately 10,000 diesel passenger cars already sold in the U.S. since model year 2014.
“In addition, the NOV covers an unknown volume of 2016 vehicles,” the EPA said in a statement.
The EPA announcement adds several Audi nameplates and Porsche to the ongoing VW diesel-emissions scandal.
When the EPA issued its first NOV to the Volkswagen Group of America on September 18, the federal investigation had been limited to 482,000 Audi and Volkswagen vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines.
The federal investigation into the Volkswagen Group of America diesel-emissions scandal continues, federal officials said.
In a conference call with the media on Monday, Giles said the 3.0-liter diesel vehicles emit up to nine times as much nitrogen oxide emissions as allowed by EPA’s standards. The pollutants have been linked to serious health problems, including premature death, increased asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses.
“This is a very serious public health matter,” said Richard Corey, the executive officer of the California Air Resources Board, during the call.
“The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft on Monday that vehicles with V6 TDI engines had a software function which had not been adequately described in the application process,” said VW AG said in a statement. “Volkswagen AG wishes to emphasize that no software has been installed in the 3.0-liter V6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner.”
“Volkswagen will cooperate fully with the EPA clarify this matter in its entirety.”
“We are surprised to learn this information,” Porsche said in a statement released this afternoon. “Until this notice, all of our information was that the Porsche Cayenne Diesel is fully compliant,”
“Porsche Cars North America will cooperate fully with all relevant authorities.”
A Volkswagen Group official told Edmunds that no decision has been made yet on a stop-sale order on any of the affected 2016 Audi vehicles until more data is provided by the EPA on the agency’s findings.
Federal officials told consumers that the vehicles are still safe and legal to drive and resell.
“Owners of vehicles of these models and years do not need to take any action at this time,” the EPA said.
Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Air & Radiation, said the EPA is still in “active and ongoing discussions with VW regarding recalls and fixes” for all affected diesel vehicles.
“We have not ordered a recall,” McCabe said during the call. “We will test the remedies to make sure they meet our standards.”
She said the EPA also wants to understand how the remedy or remedies will affect vehicle performance.
EPA officials would not discuss ongoing talks with Volkswagen Group of America or confirm whether a stop-sale order would be issued for the automaker’s 2016 diesel models.
They also would not say if any VW diesel vehicles that were tested have passed federal government tests.
McCabe said revamped and more stringent EPA testing of diesel vehicles industry-wide has not turned up defeat devices in any other brands or vehicles at this point.
The federal government has not made any decision regarding possible civil penalties for Volkswagen in the case.
Edmunds says: Consumers’ faith in VW, Audi and Porsche is shaken with this latest announcement, which almost certainly will result in a stop-sale order on some newer diesel models.