California Rejects VW Proposal To Fix Emissions-Cheating Vehicles

The California Air Resources Board has rejected Volkswagen’s recall plan for thousands of 2-liter vehicles sold in the state. The regulators also presented VW with a formal notice of air quality violations for its use of “defeat devices” to cheat on emissions tests in these cars.

CARB determined that VW’s proposed recall plans for 2-liter sedans sold in California between 2009 and 2015 are “incomplete, substantially deficient, and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles to the claimed certification configuration.”

VW submitted the proposal on Dec. 15, requesting “substantial” additional time to submit complete recall plans, according to CARB. However, California recall regulations require “expeditious action, and VW’s proposed expiation is not acceptable,” the rejection letter [PDF] states.

Specifically, the 2-liter vehicle remedy proposal failed to adequately identify and describe the affected vehicles; provide a sufficient method for obtaining owners’ names, address, and related information; describe the remedial procedure for affected vehicles; contain the impact of proposed fixes on fuel economy, drivability, performance, and safety, among other things.

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

The EPA issued a statement on Tuesday saying they backed CARB’s decision to not approve VW’s recall plan.

In addition to rejecting VW’s proposal to fix certain vehicles in California, CARB also formalized the company’s notice of violation [PDF] related to air quality standards.

The notice outlines VW’s violation of state laws in causing “substantial excess, illegal, and on-going emissions and harm that have impacted, and continue to impact, public health and the environment in California.”

The violations are essentially a repeat of the agent and the Environmental Protection Agency’s findings announced in September.

CARB says it will continue to seek “to ensure that VW brings the vehicles into full compliance with State emissions standards and mitigates past, current, and future harm to the environment.”