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German Regulators Approve Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Fix

The UK Are To Re-run Emissions Tests On Volkswagen Cars After German ScandalThe UK Are To Re-run Emissions Tests On Volkswagen Cars After German Scandal
Did VW take EU money to develop clean engines and use it to make defeat devices? Photograph by Rob Stothard — Getty Images

German regulators have approved Volkswagen’s plan to fix 460,000 diesel vehicles outfitted with technology that masks emissions during government smog testing.

The Federal Motor Transport Authority says the fix applies to VW models with 1.2-liter EA189 TDI engines, including the Volkswagen Polo and Seat Ibiza. The regulatory agency, also known as KBA, says the software update will not change the fuel consumption levels, performance data, or noise created by the vehicles.

This is the second engine-size category of Volkswagen vehicles to get approval for a software fix that is valid for countries throughout Europe, not just Germany. The modification for vehicles with affected 2.0-liter TDI engines began in early 2016. Volkswagen (VLKAY) says owners are being informed by letter and can then make an appointment to complete the update.

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The approval is a small positive for the German automaker following nearly a year of gloom. In September 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused Volkswagen of installing so-called defeat devices that allowed the company’s vehicles to falsely meet U.S.’ nitrogen oxide standards. In real driving conditions, those cars produced up to 40 times higher emissions than legally permitted.

Since the revelations about the fraud, VW’s sales have fallen along with its stock price as it deals with the regulatory and legal ramifications stemming from the faulty software. The German states of Hesse and Baden Wuerttemberg are considering joining Bavaria in suing Volkswagen for damages caused by its emissions-test cheating scandal.

Details on Volkswagen’s diesel emissions settlement:

In July, a U.S. federal judge granted preliminary approved a $10 billion settlement in which Volkswagen would offer to buy back up to 475,000 polluting 2.0 liter diesel-powered vehicles. The California Air Resources Board is also working with VW to test potential fixes for three generations of its cars equipped with 2.0-liter diesel engines and pollution control systems. Fixing the cars could help Volkswagen avoid the extra cost of buying the cars back.