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California Air Resources Board Rejects Volkswagen Recall Plan

January 12, 2016

SACRAMENTO — The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has rejected Volkswagen’s submitted recall plan for 2-liter diesel passenger vehicles sold in California between 2009 and 2015. Along with the rejection, the agency notified Volkswagen of violations of California air quality regulations tied to the company’s use of “defeat device” in those vehicles.

CARB rejected Volkswagen's recall plan because it contained gaps and lacked sufficient detail. Additionally, the board said Volkswagen’s descriptions of proposed repairs lacked enough information for a technical evaluation and did not adequately address overall impacts on vehicle performance, emissions and safety.

“Volkswagen made a decision to cheat on emissions tests and then tried to cover it up,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “They continued and compounded to lie and when they were caught they tried to deny it. The result is thousands of tons of nitrogen oxide that have harmed health of Californians. They need to make it right. Today’s action is a step in the direction of assuring that will happen.”

The board’s rejection does not remove the possibility of a recall, but allows for a broader array of potential remedies. According to the agency, CARB will continue its investigations with the Environmental Protection Agency to return the vehicles to legally required emission levels, determine mitigation for past and future environmental harm, and assess penalties.

“The rejection is not a surprise. Volkswagen has been working on an additional potential fix involving the catalytic converter. Those details have not been worked out,” said Rebecca Linland, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.  “The reasons for the rejection involve needing more details and specifications. This is not a major setback. If they present them with another plan and that’s rejected, we can start to see some real concern. However, it’s unfortunate because it continues to delay getting consumers the answers and solutions they want, need and deserve.”

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