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Volkswagen may be forced to recall almost 500,000 diesel passenger cars after an investigation revealed illegal software was allowing the vehicles to pass government emissions standards.

A software algorithm, known as a defeat device, used on roughly 482,000 Volkswagen vehicles with four-cylinder diesel engines is able to detect when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and will activate full emissions controls only during the test.

The EPA says that this results in cars that meet emissions standards while being tested, but emit 40 percent more nitrogen oxides while driving.

Independent analysis at West Virginia University uncovered the defeat devices. After being questioned by the EPA and CARB, Volkswagen admitted that its cars did contain defeat devices.

The EPA says 'it is incumbent' on Volkswagen to initiate a recall fix for all the affected cars, although they note that these vehicles are still safe to drive and do not present a safety hazard at this time.

Volkswagen may be liable for civil penalties over the findings, which could total up to $18 billion if the EPA leverages its maximum find of $37,500 per vehicles.

'Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,' said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. 'Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.'

Models affected by the issue include the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle and Gold. The 2009-2015 Audi A3 is also affected, along with the 2014-2015 Passat.

Volkswagen acknowledged that it has received notice of the investigation. 'VW is cooperating with the investigation; we are unable to comment further at this time,' said the brand.
Read more about the Volkswagen Used Illegal Software to Cheat Emissions Tests: EPA at AutoGuide.com.
 

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That is a pretty sophisticated way; to "cheat" the emissions testing system, if in fact this is the truth. I remember a era; when the TDI was not offered, for a number of years because they didn't meet the newer emissions standards at the time. It should be interesting; to see, what "truth" comes out and how VW will deal with this EPA suit.
 

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5/23/10 <3
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That is a pretty sophisticated way; to "cheat" the emissions testing system, if in fact this is the truth. I remember a time; when the TDI was not offered, for a number of years because they didn't meet the newer emissions standards at the time. It should be interesting; to see, what "truth" comes out and how VW will deal with this EPA suit.
2007-2008 were when there weren't TDIs, so right befor this crop of engines showed up. Its also interesting that several other makes have tried bringing diesels to the States and couldn't meet the emissions requirements so they ditched them (Mazda for one).

I don't think its unthinkable for this to be true. Makes a lot of sense really as to why the TDIs seem to universally perform a good bit better than their EPA ratings - increased emission control would reduce the fuel economy. From what I understand, the EPA tests involve a 2-wheel dyno. So the car would sense that only 2 wheels are moving and change the fuel/emissions mapping accordingly. When you are regularly driving, all 4 wheels are moving so "stock" tune/map is in play. At least that's the thought running around over at The Car Lounge. Hard to keep up with TDIClub on the subject...the site keeps crashing :lol:
 

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5/23/10 <3
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They won't pay that. It works out to $18 Billion if they were to. No way that's happening. GM is looking at $900 Million for their ignition switch problem, and that killed people.

Its going to be interesting to see how this plays out. The 2016 TDIs are stuck at the port and can't be certified until this is resolved. Not sure on the 2015s on the lot right now.
 
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