Yesterday we told you about half a million cars that were under recall in the U.S. for having software that cheated emissions tests. Now we're learning that, according to the carmaker, that number was off by 10.5 million.
VW used the same software on 11 million cars sold worldwide. This serious act of deception could cost the company more than $7 billion and it's already cost the CEO his job.
The car maker Volkswagen intentionally installed software, called a defeat device, that made it appear its cars met the Clean Air Act standards that are enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency. This Act was implemented by the Obama administration and is intended to keep harmful pollutants out of the air.
The deception worked like this:
Volkswagen's software was rigged so it could tell when you were having your car tested, or if it was being inspected for emissions. During the emissions test, the software would order the car's engine into a different mode.
This engine change would ensure the car did not violate the EPA's standards for nitrogen oxide emissions.
However, once on the road, that same software would turn off those controls and the car would go back into normal driving mode. By some estimates, Volkswagen's cars were emitting up to 40 times the allowed amount of nitrogen oxide.
Under its Clean Air Act policy, the Justice Department can impose fines of more than $37,000 for each affected vehicle. If fully imposed, the EPA can fine Volkswagen $18 billion. Worse for Volkswagen, its reputation may be permanently damaged.
This recall affects Volkswagen and Audi diesel, 4-cylinder vehicles sold in the United States. The specific makes and models of the effected vehicles are the Jetta (2009-2015); Beetle (2009-2015); Golf (2014-2015), Passat (2014-15); and the Audi A3 (2009-2015).
If you have one of these cars, you should receive a recall notice. Or you can contact your local dealer for further instructions.