In a development that would further aggravate the problems of troubled German carmaker Volkswagen, heavy industries minister Anant Geete on Thursday said that the firm doesn’t comply with Indian emissions norms and government would propose action against the company after studying its reply.
Geete’s statement comes a day after the company apologised for making ‘big mistakes’, but claimed that it met emission norms in India.
“They (Volkswagen) do not comply to the emission norms. They are also giving this in writing. We will propose further action after that,” Geete told reporters at the sidelines of the Auto Expo here, after visiting the Volkswagen stall at the Auto Expo.
When asked about the nature of action, the minister said the government would decide on further action after getting the company’s reply in writing.
“We have already asked them to recall vehicles. When we will get their response in writing than we will propose further action,” he said.
In December 2015, Volkswagen India had announced recall of over 3.23 lacs 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.
The recall included 1.98 lacs units of Volkswagen, over 88,000 vehicles of Skoda and around 36,500 Audi cars fitted with EA 189 diesel engines. It was announced after a government agency found that cars fitted with EA 189 diesel engines were emitting more pollutants than permitted.
Volkswagen’s emission scandal became public last year after independent experts in the USA found out the company had fitted a ‘defeat device’ in its vehicles to cheat emissions standards in test conditions.
Volkswagen passenger cars board member for sales and marketing Jurgen Stackmann had apologised on Wednesday for the emission issue in India but reiterated that its cars follow the country’s norms and the recall of more than 3 lakh vehicles is a voluntary step taken by the company.
“Volkswagen made some big mistakes. I am truly sorry for that. And I assure you we are committed to making things right… We have examined the issue very carefully under the observation of the authorities. And we came to the conclusion that our cars fully comply with Indian emission standards,” Stackmann had said.
He had said he is “apologising” on the behalf of the brand for the inconvenience and uncertainty that it might have caused in the country.
“Nevertheless because we believe there is a fine difference between being legal and compliant, and actually we are gaining the trust of consumers after voluntary recall…To give them the same upgrade that we do in Europe,” he said.
The firm has admitted use of defeat device in 11 million diesel engine cars sold in the US, Europe and other global markets that allowed manipulation of emissions tests by changing the performance of the vehicles to improve results.
(With agency inputs)