The ever-expanding Volkswagen scandal has gotten worse. The automaker has issued a “stop-sale” for more than 10,000 Audi, Porsche and VW SUVs and high-end cars with 3.0-liter diesel engines.
Federal regulators have labeled the cars as having “defeat devices” dating to 2013.
The stop-sale includes more vehicles than identified by EPA on Monday. It only labeled the specific model years of three vehicles it had tested as violating emissions rules by allowing the vehicles to emit up to nine times legally allowable levels.
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The new stop-sale covers the 2013 Audi Q7 TDI with generation II 3.0 liter V6, 2014 diesel A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7 certified pre-owned models on dealer lots and new diesel 2015-16 Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7 vehicles. The stop-sale also covers certified pre-owned 2013-2014 diesel Touareg SUVs and new 2015-16 Touareg SUVs.
Porsche announced a similar stop-sale for 2014-16 Cayenne SUVs.
VW in Germany also has announced new problems with carbon dioxide emissions and miles per gallon ratings on 800,000 vehicles and said the costs of that issue could be $2.2 billion.
The stop-sale impacts many of VW’s most profitable vehicles in the United States. In 2013, the diesel Cayenne accounted for about 30 percent of U.S. Porsche Cayenne sales.
On Monday, the EPA said its new testing shows VW Group used software similar to that in its diesel cars to evade emissions rules in the 2014 VW Touareg, 2015 Porsche Cayenne and 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5. All are equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel engines.
Volkswagen said, could be responsible for at least another $375 million in maximum fines for the additional vehicles, up from $18 billion the EPA said it faced in theory in September.
The illegal “defeat code” software may be on thousands of other vehicles with VW diesel engines dating to 2009. Testing by the EPA, California and Canada is ongoing.
Volkswagen AG initially issued a statement denying the allegations, emphasizing “that no software has been installed in the 3.0-liter V-6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner.”
Government agencies have been testing samples of all diesel passenger vehicles on U.S. roads after VW’s admission in September that it illegally installed “defeat devices” in 11 million diesel cars worldwide that allow them to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution. That includes 482,000 diesel cars sold in the U.S. since 2008.
The cars use sophisticated software to activate emission-reducing equipment during government testing. In real-world driving, it is deactivated.
Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of the Office for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said: “VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans. All companies should be playing by the same rules.”