Volkswagen New Zealand has released figures showing that a number of locally-registered diesel vehicles are affected by the international emissions scandal that has rocked the company’s reputation globally.
The affected models include the popular Amarok ute and the Volkswagen Caddy van.
Volkswagen New Zealand general manager Tom Ruddenklau said in a press release that over 4600 of its New Zealand sold vehicles carry the software that allows the car to cheat American-mandated nitrous oxide emissions tests.
The issue is somewhat complicated for the New Zealand distributor though as, under the European emissions testing regime, the same vehicles might not necessarily fail. European test standards are what New Zealand-destined Volkswagens need to comply with in order to enter our market.
According to Volkswagen New Zealand, there are 874 Amarok utes and 312 Caddy vans equipped with the cheat software in this country.
The largest part of Volkswagen’s local model line-up affected is 1411 Tiguan compact SUVs manufactured between 2009 and 2011 and running the 2.0-litre diesel engine. Six hundred and eighty New Zealand registered Volkswagen Golfs also feature the software.
Ruddenklau says Volkswagen New Zealand is notifying customers, and they will be contacted again when it is clear what will happen to rectify the issue. He stressed in the press release that the vehicles in question remain technically safe to drive.
In September Volkswagen admitted to actively preventing its diesel engine models from spewing up to 40 times America’s legally permitted levels of nitrous oxides into the air during emissions testing in that country, thanks to so-called ‘defeat’ software that alerts the engine management system to the fact it is in a test situation.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has stepped down and faces further investigation, while other senior management figures are likely to follow.
The scandal affects millions of cars and the resultant investigation may need to cover up to seven years’ worth of production of Volkswagen Group diesel models, including cars from Audi and Skoda which use the same diesel engine.