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September 6, 2016

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Germany starts recall of 630,000 autos

THE German government yesterday announced the start of a voluntary recall of 630,000 vehicles to fix emissions irregularities uncovered in the wake of Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” scandal.

The federal transport authority KBA said in a statement it would begin the recall with refits for 10,500 Porsche Macan 4x4s, one of the luxury automaker’s best sellers.

A German inquiry in April found that the diesel-powered Macans were among a number of car brands that deactivate exhaust treatment features below a certain outside temperature.

Without processing, the exhaust does not meet European emissions standards for pollutants including harmful nitrogen oxides.

Germany’s transport ministry accepted the carmakers’ defense that the “temperature window” on the Macan and other vehicles was meant to prevent damage to the motor.

That means unlike many cars from Porsche parent Volkswagen, which admitted in September 2015 to using manipulating software to fool emissions tests, Porsche and other carmakers including Daimler and General Motors subsidiary Opel are subject only to a voluntary recall.

“All the affected German manufacturers have committed themselves in writing” to the voluntary retrofits, the KBA said. The new narrower temperature window corresponds to “the actually necessary extent” for protecting the engine, it added.

The ministry has also ordered a compulsory refit of some 2.4 million Volkswagen vehicles on the country’s roads.

Recalls began in January, but have been subject to delays as VW and the KBA wrangle over the details of the retrofits to each model. Across Europe, the VW group, which owns 12 brands ranging from lower-end Skoda and Seat to luxury Audi and Bentley, plans to recall around 8.5 million vehicles over the emissions cheating scandal.

The European Commission yesterday urged member states to crack down on Volkswagen for violating consumer protection laws when it cheated on pollution tests.

“We as a commission cannot behave as if nothing happened,” the EU’s Justice and Consumer Protection Commissioner Vera Jourova said. “I want the national authorities to gain the best protection and best redress within the legal framework as quick as possible.”


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