WASHINGTON – While emphasizing that it has not yet ordered a recall in the Volkswagen diesel-emissions cheating scandal, the EPA on Friday gave consumers a better idea of what to expect in terms of a recall timeline.
No remedy is in place yet for the affected VW vehicles that have the “defeat device” software that allows them to pass EPA pollution testing.
“We expect solutions will be found relatively quickly for 2015 vehicles,” said Chris Grundler, director of the EPA’s office of transportation and air quality, in a media conference call on Friday.
The solution is somewhat complicated because three generations of Volkswagen’s clean-diesel engines from model years 2009-’15 are affected.
Grundler said there will be “different solutions for each generation of technologies.”
The newer VW clean diesels have sophisticated hardware called SCR or selective catalytic reduction; older VW diesels have a less complicated, less expensive device called a lean NOx trap and will require “engineering changes,” Grundler said.
The three generations of VW clean-diesel engines overlap model years and roughly break down into these categories: Generation 1 diesels include 2009-’12 cars; Generation 2 diesels include 2012-’14 cars and Generation 3 diesels cover the 2014-’15 model year.
The affected vehicles include the 2009-’15 Volkswagen Jetta; 2009-’14 Jetta Sportwagen: 2012-’15 Beetle and Beetle convertible; 2010-’15 Audi A3; 2010-’15 Volkswagen Golf; 2015 Golf Sportwagen and 2012-’15 Passat.
The EPA has said it is likely that owners of affected Volkswagen diesel vehicles will receive a recall notice in the future from Volkswagen. The notice from Volkswagen will provide instructions on how to get the car repaired at a Volkswagen dealership.
“In the meantime, these cars are safe and legal to drive,” Grundler said. “Owners do not need to take action at this time.”
The EPA said in a posting on its Web site that it will not confiscate any Volkswagen vehicle or require an owner to stop driving it.
It also said, “Depending on the complexity of the repair and the lead time needed to obtain the necessary components, it could take up to one year to identify corrective actions, develop a recall plan and issue recall notices.”
The EPA said owners are not able to turn off the so-called emissions “defeat device” by themselves. The device is embedded in the software code that runs the engine control computer.
The VW diesels with the defeat device do not comply with EPA emissions standards.
Edmunds says: Owners of these vehicles will still have to sit tight and wait for further instructions from the EPA and Volkswagen.