In order to increase its US market share above the usual 2%, Volkswagen introduced a new four-cylinder 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel Engine.  The diesel engine was advertised by Volkswagen to burn ultra-low-sulfur fuel, to have direct injection technology and to be extreme efficiency.  Volkswagen claimed it had ushered in a new era of diesel, clean, efficient and powerful, averaging 40 miles to a gallon.

VW’s Amazing Technology Is Based On A Lie

Volkswagen installed a “defeat device” in both its Volkswagens and Audi’s which are equipped with the 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel Engine.  (see the list below)  This software device can detect when the car is in smog test mode rather than normal drive mode.  It is surmised that wheel speed sensors can tell when the car is on a rolling road in the test facility, rather than driving down the street.  Sensing this, the car will kick into test mode, the vehicle software will limit fuel flow, keeping both power and operating temperature low, which limits emissions.  As a result, the car passes the smog test.  Back on the road, the system disables the emission controls and the car begins to pollute the environment.  The cars emit Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) as well as elevated CO2 emissions.  For example, the Jetta produces 15 to 35 times the U.S. legal limit (Tier 2 Bin 5) of NOx, a noxious substance.  The Passat produces 5 to 20 times the legal limit.

When the EPA demanded proof the carmaker had solved the real-world emissions issues, as opposed to the smog test emissions, Volkswagen admitted it had installed the “defeat device.” 

How Will Volkswagen Solve This Problem?

Volkswagen has two options for the fix.  It can either:

Change the engine software, which will significantly limit engine power output and fuel economy, or

Install urea treatment systems, which will not only require significant vehicle modification – cutting into trunk or hatch cargo space – but also cost Volkswagen thousands of dollars per car.

As it stands, the initial sale of these vehicles was technically illegal.  The consequence to an owner is that the owner might not be able to re-register the car in California or might not be allowed to resell the cars.  Buyers will not be interested in purchasing either new or used Volkswagens and Audis which have the 2.0L TDI engine.  In fact, Volkswagen has sent a stop sale order to its dealerships halting the sale of both new and used 2.0L TDI models.  In addition the EPA will not issue certificates of conformity for any 2016 model with the 2.0L TDI engine.

The cars affected at this time include:

VW Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen 2009-2015
VW Golf 1010-2015
VW Beetle and Beetle Convertible 2012-2015
VW Passat 2012-2015
Audi A3 2010-2015

What Can You Do If You Own One of These Cars?

If you contact our office, we have attorneys at Hyde & Swigart who can evaluate your  claims.  Our free consultation can assist you in understanding your rights and Volkswagen’s liability.

Ellen Turnage
Litigation Attorney
Lemon Law and Auto Fraud
Hyde & Swigart
September 25, 2015