WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The California Air Resources Board and Environmental Protection Agency said late on Tuesday that Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) submitted a plan to fix 80,000 recalled 3.0 liter diesel SUVs and cars that emit up to nine times legally allowable pollution.
After more than four months of lengthy talks and making little apparent progress winning approval to begin fixing any U.S. VW diesel vehicles with excess emissions, the comprehensive proposal for 3.0 liter vehicles submitted by VW offers the German automaker a chance to finally win approval to start selling diesel vehicles again.
U.S. and California regulators said in November that the German automaker used undeclared auxiliary software to allow Audi, Porsche and VW vehicles to emit excess emissions.
The disclosure came six weeks after the EPA said VW had engaged in emissions cheating in 482,000 cars with smaller 2.0 liter engines that allowed vehicles to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution.
California had set a Tuesday deadline under state law for VW to submit a plan to recall and fix the vehicles with diesel engines that were designed by its Audi unit.
“We are fully cooperating with the U.S. authorities to make our V6 3.0L (diesel) engine compliant with regulations. After meetings between EPA and (California) and our technicians, we filed a recall plan,” Audi of America spokesman Mark Clothier said Tuesday.
The EPA said it also received the proposal. Federal regulators must separately approve any recall fix plan. EPA spokeswoman Laura Allen said Tuesday the agency will review the plan.
The plan covers the diesel 2009-2016 VW Touareg, 2013-2016 Porsche Cayenne and 2014-2016 Audi A6 Quattro, Audi A7 Quattro, Audi A8, Audi A8L, Audi Q5 and 2009-2016 Audi Q7. VW faces a U.S. stop sale that bars it from selling 2016 diesel models.
The Air Resources Board (ARB) said it will give the 3.0 liter proposal a “thorough and complete review to make sure the plan addresses” excess emissions.
Audi said it hopes ARB will make a decision on whether to approve the plan in the “near future.”
Last month, California rejected VW’s proposal to fix 482,000 2.0 liter cars, calling it “substantially deficient.”
A VW lawyer said last month the automaker is considering buying back some vehicles. The U.S. Justice Department sued VW last month for up to $46 billion for allegedly violating environmental laws.
Last week, VW won approval to start fixing 8.5 million vehicles in Europe. VW said excess diesel emissions impact up to 11 million vehicles worldwide.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sandra Maler, Bernard Orr