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Audi,VW, Porsche falsified emissions

German companies used software to limit levels during tests
Apr 04,2018
Audi Volkswagen Korea and Porsche Korea installed illegal software in some of their cars to fabricate emissions levels during government tests, according to Korea’s Ministry of Environment Tuesday.

The two companies are expected to be fined 14.1 billion won ($13.4 million). The ministry plans to order a recall on 12 Audi Volkswagen models and 2 Porsche models today, amounting to 13,000 cars in total in Korea.

The ministry rolled out an emissions test on diesel-powered cars in Korea with a 3,000 cc engine capacity from last August until March.

It found that a number of Audi Volkswagen models including the A7, A8 and Touareg, as well as Porsche’s Cayenne and Macaan, had software installed on them that manipulated the emissions levels during test sessions by the ministry.

Three Audi models - the A7 3.0, A8 3.0, A8 4.2 - were found to include exhaust-gas recirculation software that only runs when vehicle are traveling on straight roads and the steering wheel is not moving. The ministry’s emissions tests take place on a straight course.

During tests, the amount of nitrogen oxide emitted from the models in question was well under the indoor standard of 0.18 grams per kilometer (0.01 ounces per mile). On real roads with curves, however, the amount emitted jumped by nearly 2 grams, producing 2.098 grams of nitrogen oxide per kilometer.

A total of 3,660 affected vehicles were imported and sold in Korea from July 2012 until June 2014.

A total of 11 models from Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche were additionally found to be equipped with exhaust-gas recirculation software that only operates at 60 to 70 percent of its capacity after the engine has been running for 1,100 seconds.

The government tests lasted for 1,180 seconds, so throughout the test the emitted level of nitrogen oxide was well below the standard.

These models were made under the Euro 6 standard, which means that they had another recirculation system. As a result, the amount of nitrogen oxide emitted does not exceed ministry standards. But the fact that the system had been designed to operate below its full capacity still raised a red flag.

“The fact that the carmakers fabricated the system was what led industry experts and researchers to conclude that they were deployed to manipulate emission levels,” an official from the Ministry of Environment said Tuesday.

The German government ordered Volkswagen to recall and suspend sales of its Tourage model for the same reason last year.

“Once our headquarters completes verification and approval of the technical fix with the German Federal Motor Transport and Ministry of Environment, Audi Volkswagen Korea will exert its effort to faithfully implement the … recall in order to minimize customer inconvenience,” Audi Volkswagen Korea said in a release Tuesday.

Audi Volkswagen had already suspended sales of the affected models due to a 2015 emission scandal.

Porsche Korea didn’t release an official statement.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]