Volkswagen has another fix for 3.0-liter Audi, Porsche, VW diesels: Will this one be approved?

May 10, 2016

Last month, Volkswagen submitted plans to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board to fix or buyback some 482,000 smaller, 2.0-liter diesels from Audi and VW. Now, it looks as if the German automaker is preparing another proposal to deal with 85,000 additional 3.0-liter Audi, Porsche, and VW vehicles affected by the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal.

Citing "people familiar with the matter", Bloomberg reports that the repair for these larger cars and crossovers includes a software upgrade and perhaps a new catalytic converter. The sticking points of current discussions with the EPA and CARB include not only the precise details of the plan, but also guarantees that Volkwagen's test results for the fix will bear out in real-world driving.

At this point, it doesn't appear that the proposal will involve buybacks of 3.0-liter diesels. Final details about the plan aren't expected until Volkswagen, the EPA, and CARB reach agreements about the scandal as a whole.

Recap

When news of Dieselgate first began making headlines back in September 2015, it appeared that it was limited to 11 million smaller "clean diesel" vehicles from Audi, VW, and other Volkswagen brands. Of that number, 482,000 are registered in the U.S.

However, testing of larger, 3.0-liter diesel vehicles revealed that they were equipped with special software that can, as Bloomberg explains, "manage temperatures of the exhaust-cleaning system thereby affecting emissions readings". That wasn't an issue in many countries, but in the U.S, where emissions regulations are far stricter, it was.

In November, the EPA red-flagged seven Audi and VW 3.0-liter diesels for potential violations. Volkswagen issued a stop-sale for those models, including resales of older, used vehicles.

In February, Volkswagen submitted plans to repair those vehicles and bring them in line with U.S. law. However CARB--and, by extension, the EPA--was not amused by the lack of detail in those plans, nor by Volkswagen's lack of cooperation in the investigation. And so, CARB rejected the plan.

By April, Volkswagen seems to have changed its tune. Though details of the proposal for 2.0-liter diesels haven't been made public--and may not be until June 21--the EPA seemed pleased by Volkswagen's new attitude. Perhaps the rapidly rising cost of the Dieselgate scandal snapped them to attention.

Note: for purposes of clarity, "Volkswagen" has been used to refer to the Volkswagen Group parent company, while "VW" has been used to refer to the company's popular mass-market brand of automobiles.

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