Flexing its regulatory muscle, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) this week ordered Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche to submit a recall plan for all 3.0 liter diesel vehicles from model years 2009 – 2015 that were sold in California. The recall was triggered as a result of ARB allegations that the companies installed illegal emissions software in the subject vehicles in order to pass California’s stringent control requirements for vehicular emissions.
All three manufacturers were notified by an In Use Compliance letter, a formal process used by the agency to address such violations. The companies now have 45 business days from the date of the letter to prepare their plan and submit it to ARB for approval. The plan must detail the steps that will be undertaken to not only identify and recall the affected vehicles, but also to repair and certify vehicle compliance with California regulations.
According to ARB, it acted as a result of an admission by officials from Audi, the manufacturer of all of the engines involved, that three undisclosed auxiliary control devices were present in all of the vehicles. The engines were installed in Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5, and Q7 models, as well as Porsche and VW Touareg diesel models.
This latest action by ARB is in addition to previous enforcement actions related to 2.0 liter diesel equipped vehicles which were found to have emission control defeat devices installed. VW has already submitted a recall plan for those vehicles.
Monetary and other penalties have not yet been announced by ARB and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, billions of dollars in fines are expected.