An apex testing agency today began a probe in India into Volkswagen’s emission standards after a manipulation scandal hit the German auto major in the US and several other countries.
If proved of any wrongdoing in India, the world’s largest car-maker may have to face criminal proceedings, fine and recall of vehicles, a top official said today.
Apex automotive testing agency Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) today began the probe after it was asked by the Ministry of Heavy Industry to inquire into the matter.
ARAI Director Rashmi Urdhwareshe said it has sought details from Volkswagen and was awaiting their response When asked if ARAI would pick up random samples to test, she said: “We are yet to decide on that.”
Additional Secretary Heavy Industry Ministry Ambuj Sharma said ARAI has been asked to find whether VW sold the same models which have been found to violate emission norms in the US and “report within a week”.
“If Volkswagen is found to have violated Indian standards, it may have to recall vehicles, pay a penalty or even face criminal proceedings as per Indian regulations and legal procedures prescribed,” he said.
When contacted, a Volkswagen India spokesperson declined to comment, stating that investigations “are still running”.
Heavy Industries Secretary Rajan Katoch said yesterday that the ministry has asked ARAI to inquire if VW manipulated emissions tests in India as it did in the US.
VW has 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 USD 18 billion in the US.
It is now facing investigations in the US, South Korea, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and the UK. Australia has said it is monitoring the situation.
In the wake of the scandal in the US, the embattled CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, stepped down earlier this week.