California's Air Resources Board has rejected Volkswagen's (VW's) plan for recalling thousands of 3-liter diesel vehicles, posing a new challenge for the German carmaker to settle its emissions cheating scandal.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) said in a statement Wednesday that the proposal for recalling 85,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche models with 3.0 liter engines was inadequate.
In letters to VW executives and attorneys, CARB said it had offered to continue talks "in hopes of finding a fix" to the cars, which range from model years 2009-2016.
"VW's and Audi's submissions are incomplete, substantially deficient, and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles to the claimed certified configuration," the regulators said in its letter.
CARB also said it would not have enough data at least until December to make a determination on whether a 3.0-liter fix would work for all of the diesel vehicles. If no fix was possible, the company may have to buy back the vehicles, it added.
Costs set to rise
The rejection of the VW proposal shows that the auto maker's emission-cheating scandal involving about 11 million vehicles worldwide is far from over.
Last month, VW reached a landmark $15.3-billion (13.7-billion-euro) settlement with US regulators and owners of its 2-liter diesel vehicles that included up to $10 billion to buy back about 480,000 cars. A federal judge in San Francisco is considering whether to approve the settlement.
In an e-mailed statement to the news agency Bloomberg, VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said the CARB announcement was a procedural step under state laws governing recalls.
"We continue to work closely with the US Environmental Protection Agency and CARB to try to secure approval for a technical resolution for our 3.0-liter TDI vehicles as quickly as possible," she added.
In California about 16,000 of the VW vehicles with polluting engines are registered. The engine is used in the Audi A6, A7 and A8 sedans and Q5 and Q7 sports utility vehicles (SUVs), as well as the Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg SUV's.
In the US, VW still faces lawsuits by at least five states as well as from investors and dealerships. Adding to that are parallel lawsuits, including consumer complaints, in Germany. Penalties are looming from criminal probes in the US, Germany and South Korea.
uhe/kd (Reuters, dpa, Bloomberg)