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Government to issue notice to Volkswagen on emission levels

PTI     November 4, 2015

Government will issue a notice to German car major Volkswagen on Wednesday as "significant variations" have been found by testing agency ARAI in on-road emission levels in the diesel models of Jetta, Octavia, Audi A4 and Audi A6 in India.

"ARAI has found significant variations in the emission level in on-road vehicles as compared to the laboratory measurements. We are issuing a notice to Volkswagen Group of companies today to give technical inputs and explain their position," Ambuj Sharma, Additional Secretary, Heavy Industries Ministry told PTI.

Significant variations in the emission levels have been found in diesel vehicles belonging to the Jetta, Audi A4 and Vento models, he added.

"We will give them (Volkswagen) 15-21 days to reply to the notice. We are expecting a reply from them by month-end, with detailed technical inputs from their HQ in Germany," Sharma said.

Volkswagen India sells Jetta model, while Octavia and Audi A4 and A6 models are retailed by Skoda and Audi respectively. Both Audi and Skoda brands are owned by the Volkswagen group.

When contacted, ARAI Director Rashmi Urdhwareshe said: "We had tested the exhaust in Volkswagen's on-road vehicles and found a significant difference in emission levels in comparison to the laboratory measurements. Significant variation has been found in models including Jetta, Octavia, Audi A4 and Audi A6 in particular.

"We are seeking a clarification from Volkswagen through the notice. We will decide the future course of action based on their reply and the technical inputs from their German Headquarters," she added.

The findings are a part of the report submitted to the Heavy Industries Ministry by apex testing agency ARAI. It had begun a probe into Volkswagen's emission standards after a manipulation scandal hit the German auto major in the US and several other countries.

The ARAI report was submitted yesterday. The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) provides technical expertise in R&D, testing, certification, homologation and framing of vehicle regulations.

If proved of any wrongdoing in India, the world's largest car-maker may have to face criminal proceedings, fine and recall of vehicles, Sharma had said earlier.

Volkswagen India did not respond to queries sent to them.

VW has already admitted that 11 million diesel engine cars worldwide were fitted with the software that helped in manipulating emission tests. It faces fine of up to $18 billion in the US.

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