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, specifically those pertaining to nitrous-oxide emissions. Several employees have been suspended or , and the automaker is currently 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 , 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.