Volkswagen has begun its recall of the cars in Ireland which were affected by the global emissions scandal, with Golf 2lt TDI Blue Motion models to start being fixed next week.
In total, some 117,000 cars here will need to be recalled as they are fitted with “defeat devices” which detects when the car is undergoing testing and reduces its engine output thereby cutting its nitrogen oxide emissions.
Volkswagen says there are 2,500 2l Golfs in Ireland which need to be fixed. The company had intended to start with the 2l Passat, of which there are roughly 9,500 in Ireland, but Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority has not approved that proposed fix as yet. It is anticipated that it will be the next model to be recalled, after the 2l Golfs, in a matter of weeks.
It is likely that the recall of the 1.6l-engined cars, of which there are many more Golfs than Passats, will begin in the autumn. Other Volkswagen models, such as the Eos, will be recalled over the following weeks as will thousands of Audis, Seats, and Skodas.
It is understood that the actual fix takes less than an hour and Volkswagen has stressed that there will be no cost to the car owner. It has also said that, as part of the recall process, “all customers will be offered appropriate replacement mobility options free of charge”.
It added: “Over and above this the vehicles affected are technically safe and roadworthy. They can be driven on roads without any limitations until the modifications are implemented.”
The owners of the Golf 2l TDI will shortly receive a letter asking them to bring their car to the local workshop.
Volkswagen has refused to pay compensation to its European customers affected by the scandal even though it has set aside billions to buy back cars in the US. In all it has set aside €7bn globally for legal costs from 2015, on top of €7.8bn to cover fixes and an offer to buy back some 500,000 defective cars.
Overall, the company deducted €16.2bn from last year’s earnings to cover the costs of the scandal.
The company’s chief executive, Matthias Mueller, said that recalling and fixing the cars, 11m of which have the controversial software, “will remain our most important task until the very last vehicle has been put in order”.
Analysts say the impact of lower sales could make the final bill much higher than the company’s figure.
Volkswagen said last week that it lost €1.5bn on an after-tax basis after a profit of €11.1bn in 2014.
At Volkswagen’s annual news conference yesterday, Mr Mueller outlined a plan to focus more on electric vehicles and services such as car-sharing as it seeks to get past its emissions scandal. He said the company would “make electric cars one of Volkswagen’s new hallmarks” with 20 new models by 2020.
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