VW EMISSIONS SAGA: Diesel-powered Volkswagen cars, at centre of the automaker's emissions scandal, on display at a VW dealership. SA Volkswagens could soon be tested.Image: AP / Brennan Linsley
Cape Town - Volkswagen's emissions scandal is fast becoming one of the biggest controversies the auto industry has seen in quite some time.
Wheels24 spoke to Volkswagen South Africa earlier in September after it was reported the automaker falsified emissions data. The automaker said that SA vehicles are not affected.
VW SA said: “South Africa does not have a legislative emission standard so this issue does not apply locally. We meet the CO2 emissions as published in our official specification sheets for all our vehicles.”
Now it seems local models will be investigated...
VW, Audi owners: Sue, sell or stay put
South Africa will join an increasing list of countries that will investigate VW models locally.
Themba Kaula, head of the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications' (NRCS) transport department, says the organisation will launch an investigation by performing tests within the next "two to three months" on VW models, reports Netwerk24.
Affected models in the US include the diesel variants of the VW Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Passat built from 2009 to 2015. It also includes the 2014-2015 production series of the Audi A3 diesel models.
According to Kaula, models affected are available in South Africa but any irregularities or non-complaince will only be determined once the tests have been conducted. The NRCS has not ruled out a recall of local models as yet.
Recalls not ruled out
Kaula says the public needs to understand that South Africa's emission standards (according to the 20083 Act) is much lower than that of Europe and the US so there is no certainty that VW has in fact over compensated its data here.
The NRCS says: "Its homologation process ensures that all vehicles comply with the necessary standards including emissions standards before they are put in the South African market.
"The homologation process entails an analysis of the sample vehicle against test reports provided for by the relevant Automotive Company to determine whether it complies with compulsory standards that the NRCS enforces to ensure the protection of consumers and the environment. When the NRCS is satisfied that the vehicle model complies with all relevant mandatory requirements, it issues a confirmation of homologation which is an approval for a vehicle to be registered and operated.
"The requirements are applicable to all vehicles that are sold in the South African market including VW cars. NRCS can confirm that all VW cars have gone through the homologation process as outlined above and comply according to the homologation documentations provided to the Regulator. With regard to the latest allegations of rigging of emissions tests made by the US Environment Protection Agency against VW cars in the United States and Europe, NRCS will launch an investigation working together with Departments of Environmental Affairs and Transport to determine whether the South African vehicles are also affected."
Volkswagen's emission scandal stems from its software which has turned on pollution controls for government tests, and which are done on a treadmill device called a dynamometer. When the software deduced that the cars were back on the street, the controls went off and the cars polluted too much. About 500 000 of the cars were sold in the US.
How will the tests be performed?
The NRCS says: It will do a comparative study on vehicles models implicated against vehicles that were approved in South Africa to determine whether there was any manipulation of pollution data. This will be followed by sampling and testing of emissions requirements against the relevant South African standard, SANS 20083 (UNECE R83.04). If vehicles are found to be non-compliant, the NRCS will apply sanctioning process which will lead to recall of the relevant vehicles for correction.
More on VW emissions scandal:Emissions scandal: BMW implicated?
VW to start firings over emissions scandal
VW CEO resigns: 'Stunned by misconduct
NOx gasses in diesel cars: Why are they so dangerous?
#Dieselgate: Internet reacts to VW scandal
Not just VW: 5 major car industry scandals
Emissions scandal: Porsche head to replace VW chief?
VW chief on emissions scandal: 'We screwed up'
Seoul summons VW over emissions scandal
VW emissions scandal: What does it mean for SA?