Posted on Monday, September 21st, 2015
Volkswagen was issued a directive by the Obama administration on Friday to recall close to a half-million of its vehicles. This comes after the Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation over an accusation that the company illegally installed a so-called “defeat device” in its 4-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. These devices are believed to have been installed in diesel vehicles dating back to 2009.
According to The New York Times, officials with the E.P.A. have reported that the German automaker has admitted to the installation of defeat devices in its vehicles and it will be cooperating with the investigation. Since the E.P.A. ordered Volkswagen to recall its vehicles, the company’s chief executive has publicly apologized for breaking the trust of customers and the public at large. The case against Volkswagen will be jointly investigated by the Justice Department, the E.P.A., and the state of California.
Defeat devices installed in the Volkswagen and Audi vehicles were intended to conceal the emissions levels of the nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that directly contributes to smog and ozone creation. When installed, these defeat devices can detect official emissions testing equipment so the vehicles’ complete emission control systems will be activated for the duration of the test. Under normal circumstances, the controls systems are switched off and the vehicle may release pollutants at more than 40 times the legal maximums as set by the Clean Air Act.
The E.P.A.’s notice of violation is indicative of a broader shift in policy toward a more proactive regulation of the automotive industry. Bearing that in mind, this move against Volkswagen may be interpreted as a stern message to other automakers about the kind of treatment they can expect if they willfully disregard federal regulations..