U.S. Approves 2016 BMW Diesel X5 SUV After EPA Review

File photo of a BMW emblem at the 2015 New York International Auto Show
REUTERS/Eric Thayer/Files

The Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board approved the sale of the new 2016 BMW diesel X5 after government testing found no evidence of software to evade emissions standards, the government said Thursday.

In September, U.S. environmental regulators and Transport Canada announced they would review all current diesel passenger cars, trucks and SUVs for sale to ensure that they did not have “defeat devices.”

EPA spokeswoman Laura Allen said Thursday that the agency – along with California and Canada – was doing additional testing before approving new diesel vehicles. “Our screening tests found no evidence of a defeat device in the 2016 BMW X5,” she said.

BMW said late Thursday it had delayed the start of production of the diesel X5 – known as the X5 xDrive35d – until EPA testing and certification were completed.

“The vehicle will be going into production shortly at our manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina,” BMW said. It expects the vehicle will go on sale in January.

The EPA diesel review came weeks after Volkswagen AG admitted it installed software in 482,000 U.S. vehicles that allowed vehicles to emit up to 40 times allowable pollution in real world driving. VW says the issue involved up to 11 million vehicles worldwide.

Last month the EPA approved the sale of two new General Motors diesel pickup trucks – the 2016 GMC Canyon and 2016 Chevrolet Colorado – after finding no improper emissions.

The BMW SUV and GM pickups were the only non-VW 2016 diesel vehicles awaiting certification.

BMW says diesels accounted for 5.9 percent, or 20,178, of 2014 U.S. vehicle sales.

In November, VW and its Audi and Porsche units acknowledged it has other emissions issues in larger luxury vehicles that extend to an additional 85,000 vehicles dating back to 2009.

The EPA and California on Nov. 2 accused VW of evading emissions in at least 10,000 Audi, Porsche and VW sport utility vehicles and cars with 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engines. VW initially denied the findings.

Last month, VW and Audi officials acknowledged emissions issues in all vehicles with 3.0-liter diesel engines from model years 2009 through 2016.

VW, Porsche and Audi have issued stop sales for 2015 and 2016 diesel models in showrooms and certified used diesel vehicles. The EPA declined to approve the sale of 2016 diesel vehicles, and VW withdrew its certification request for the cars in October pending further talks with regulators.

Written by David Shepardson of Reuters

(Source: MSN)

VW and Audi Diesel Owners Will Get $1,000 in Credit Cards

REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer
REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Volkswagen AG will offer credit cards worth $1,000, of which half is to be spent at VW and Audi dealerships, to U.S. owners of certain diesel models that do not comply with government emissions standards, VW’s U.S. subsidiary said on Monday.

The automaker said eligible U.S. owners of nearly 500,000 VW and Audi models equipped with 2.0 liter TDI diesel engines can apply to receive a $500 prepaid Visa card and a $500 dealership card, as well as three years of free roadside assistance services.

The program could cost VW nearly $500 million, half of which could flow directly to dealers.

The German automaker has been embroiled in a scandal that erupted in September when it admitted it had rigged U.S. tests for nitrogen oxide emissions. The crisis deepened last week when it said it had also understated the carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption of vehicles in Europe.

VW also said on Monday it continues to discuss potential remedies with U.S. and California emissions regulators, including the possibility that some of the affected cars could be bought back from customers.

In Washington, Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey on Monday decried VW’s consumer program as “insultingly inadequate” and “a fig leaf attempting to hide the true depths of Volkswagen’s deception.”

The senators said VW “should offer every owner a buy-back option” and “should state clearly and unequivocally that every owner has the right to sue.”

VW has said about 482,000 cars sold in the United States since 2009 with four-cylinder diesel engines had software installed that allowed the engines to pass government tests for smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions, but pollute at levels far above government limits in normal operation.

On Monday, the automaker posted details of its “goodwill package” at http://www.vwdieselinfo.com. Audi plans to post details of a similar program on Friday.

VW said the customer offer did not cover models equipped with the 3.0 V6 TDI diesel engine, including the Touareg. The company last week told U.S. and Canadian dealers to stop selling certain of those models from 2014-2016 after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that VW group brands had installed illegal devices on some 3.0 V6 diesel models.

To qualify for the credit card offer, VW diesel owners must go to the company website, enter a vehicle identification number and provide mileage and contact information. VW will send the cards by mail. To activate the cards, owners then must take the vehicle to the dealer for verification.

VW said on Monday that customers “don’t have to sign anything” and will not be required to relinquish any legal rights.

Written by Joseph White and Paul Lienert of Reuters

(Source: Reuters)