YONKERS, N.Y. (Sept. 21, 2015) — Consumer Reports (CR) has suspended its “recommended” rating of two Volkswagen vehicles — the Jetta diesel and Passat diesel — due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) notice of violation against Volkswagen for circumventing emissions testing guidelines.
CR said the recommendations will be suspended until its product testing staff can re-test the vehicles with a recall repair performed. Once the emissions systems are functioning properly, the publication said it will assess whether the repair has adversely affected performance or fuel economy.
The decision comes in the wake of VW admitting to the EPA that it circumvented the computer that controls the emissions system in about 482,000 Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. since 2008 with 2.0-liter diesel engines.
Impacted Volkswagen models include:
- Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta SportWagen (2009-2015)
- Volkswagen Beetle, Beetle Convertible (2009-2015)
- Audi A3 (2009-2015)
- Volkswagen Golf (2009-2015)
- Volkswagen Passat (2014-2015)
- Volkswagen Golf SportWagen (2015)
The EPA alleges that the design of a VW device was to shut off emissions control devices except when the vehicle was undergoing any sort of emissions testing.
“This results in cars that meet emissions standards in the laboratory or testing station, but during normal operation, emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx, at up to 40 times the standard,” according to the EPA.
“This is a serious violation of the law. Volkswagen was ripping off the consumer and hurting the environment at the same time. The car maker was apparently installing software in vehicles that effectively let them generate more pollution than advertised. It's outrageous,” said Ellen Bloom, senior director of federal policy for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.
Volkswagen sent CR the following statement: “Volkswagen Group of America Inc., Volkswagen A.G. and Audi A.G. received today notice from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice and the California Air Resources Board of an investigation related to certain emissions compliance matters.
“VW is cooperating with the investigation; we are unable to comment further at this time.”