California rejects VW's recall plan for larger diesel cars

Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:31am EDT
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By Rory Carroll

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's chief air regulator has rejected a proposed recall plan from Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) to fix 16,000 3.0-liter diesel Volkswagens, Audis and Porsches in the state equipped with devices designed to cheat emissions tests.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) said on Wednesday the plan to fix the VW and Audi luxury vehicles, which range from model years 2009-2016, was insufficient.

"VW's and Audi's submissions are incomplete, substantially deficient, and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles to the claimed certified configuration," CARB said in its letter.

The regulator said it will not have enough data at least until December to make a determination on whether a 3.0-liter fix would work for all of the diesel vehicles. If no fix is possible, the company may have to buy back the vehicles, which could add billions to the cost of its buy-backs.

The vehicles include the Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Audi A8.

CARB's announcement came as a surprise because VW lawyer Robert Giuffra said last month the German automaker believed it could fix 85,000 polluting 3.0-liter vehicles nationwide, and said the fix would not be "complicated."

VW shares ignored the CARB's reaction and were trading up 2.3 percent at 117.6 euros as of 0845 GMT (04:45 a.m. EDT).

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson said the agency agreed that VW has not presented an approvable proposed recall plan for the 3.0-liter diesel vehicles.   Continued...

An American flag flies next to a Volkswagen car dealership in San Diego, California, U.S. September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo