Volkswagen halts sale of European diesels linked to emissions scandal

German automaker also adds a vehicle ID lookup tool to its US site and suspends its head of quality control.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
2 min read

2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
The TDI scandal appears to worsen with each passing day. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Volkswagen on Wednesday ordered a halt to sales in Europe of all models that feature diesel engines equipped with defeat devices meant to falsify emissions compliance, the latest in a global scandal expected to cost the German automaker billions of dollars.

The automaker has been embroiled in investigations following admissions that it intentionally cheated on diesel emissions tests, specifically those pertaining to nitrous-oxide emissions. Several employees have been suspended or have resigned, and the automaker is currently developing one or more fixes for the 11 million vehicles worldwide affected by this issue.

The European stop-sale affects diesel models equipped with Volkswagen Group's EA189 four-cylinder turbodiesel engine. The EA189 was replaced by the EA288 in 2014, the latter of which been the diesel engine in US VW models since the start of the 2015 model year. Volkswagen told Reuters that this stop-sale only affects a small number of vehicles, and those cars would be sold once fixed. Volkswagen's US dealerships are still under a recall of 8.5 million vehicles, despite claims that the newer engine meets current environmental standards. This stop-sale is in addition to the compulsory VW diesel models across Europe.

The automaker has set aside over $7 billion (£4.5 billion or AU$9.5 billion) to pay for these repairs, but many estimate it will cost several times more than that, considering there are 11 million or so rigged diesels on the road.

To further bridge the gap between the goings-on in Europe and the US, Volkswagen finally added a vehicle identification number (VIN) database on its Diesel Information site, which also features a video apology from Michael Horn, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. Europe's equivalent site already has the VIN-based lookup tool.

Volkswagen also suspended its head of quality control, Frank Tuch, after investigators discovered incriminating information during their search to uncover exactly who knew what. Horn told a US House of Representatives committee on October 8 that the scandal was limited to a small number of employees, but the automaker remains unsure of what exactly went on, so there's no telling how many more workers will end up connected to this.