Volkswagen Group India has recalled approximately 3,23,700 cars fitted with 1.2-litre, 1.5-litre, 1.6-litre, and 2.0-litre EA 189 diesel engines that were manufactured and sold between 2008 and November 2015. A communication program is being devised to reach out to the owners of cars with EA 189 engines through the group’s respective brands.
The recall would affect 1,98,500 units of Volkswagen cars alone. Skoda and Audi will recall 88,700 and 36,500 vehicles fitted with the EA 189 diesel engine respectively.
While the official statement had no mention of any technical fix for the cars affected by the recall, it is learned that the solution developed at the company’s head office in Germany will be applied to cars in India as well.
The company had in a media statement said the EA 189 1.6-litre engine will feature a ‘flow transformer’ that will be installed in front of the air flow sensor to stabilise air flow and enable a more precise measurement of the incoming fresh air flow. This will help the fuel to be metered more accurately.
According to the company, the 2.0-litre diesel engine will only need a software upgrade, while the 1.6-litre EA 189 diesel engine will be subject to a hardware and software fix.
Volkswagen had been studying the air intake system for the EA 189 engine and decided that the air flow transformer would be the most efficient solution to reduce the emission level and bring it at par with globally accepted limits. The installation of the flow transformer and the software alteration to the 1.6-litre engine is expected to take around an hour, while the 2.0-litre engine — that will receive only a software upgrade — will be serviced to make it compatible with emission norms in as little as 30 minutes.
India also gets a 4-cylinder, 1.5-litre derivative of the 1.6-litre engine which expands the EA 189 engine range to four — 1.2-litre, 1.5-litre, 1.6-litre, and 2.0-litre displacement engines. While there is already a technical solution for 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre engines, a solution for the 3-cylinder 1.2-litre diesel engine is still being developed.
In September 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States found out that cars across the Volkswagen Group portfolio were being fitted with a ‘defeat device’ — a software that modified its performance when it sensed being run in ‘test condition’ by monitoring speed, engine operation, and even steering wheel position.
Volkswagen admitted to the malpractice and said about 11 million cars worldwide were fitted with the ‘defeat device’.
The EA 189 engine was found to emit nitrogen oxide up to 40 times above the norms.
In a recent development, Volkswagen’s global CEO, Matthias Müller, announced a cap on planned investments in “property, plant and equipment, investment property and intangible assets, excluding capitalised development costs (capex)” to the tune of Euro 1 billion to approximately Euro 12 billion (against the previous estimate of Euro 13 billion), while committing to the development of alternate drive technologies by increasing the expenditure on technology by approximately Euro 100 million.