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2015-10-07 15:41

AUSTRALIAN CARS AFFECTED: 90 000 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles in Australia are affected with the firms 'defeat device', as the fallout from its emissions-cheating software scandal expanded. AFP/ William West

Sydney, Australia - The number of vehicles sold in Australia fitted with devices designed to mask the level of emissions has risen to more than 90 000 (from 77 000), to include Audi , widening a global scandal that engulfed automaker Volkswagen.

The Australian unit of Volkswagen said it had set up a website for customers to see if their vehicles, including almost 55 000 Volkswagen branded passenger cars, 5000 Skodas and more than 17 000 Volkswagen commercial vehicles, had the affected EA 189 diesel engines.

A spokeswoman for Audi Australia confirmed a further 14 000 Audi's had also been fitted with the device.

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Volkswagen Group Australia managing director, John White said: "Volkswagen Group Australia takes this issue extremely seriously and is continuing to gather all the facts from our head office to support any rectification plans in Australia.

"We understand the disappointment and frustration felt by our customers, dealers and partners in Australia and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We are doing everything possible to fix the problem and will be making further announcements."

Is SA affected?

VWSA says: "There has been extensive international media coverage relating to irregularities in Nitrogen oxide emission values measured during dynamometer regarding the emission standard Euro 5 of Volkswagen diesel vehicles fitted with the type EA189 Euro 5 engines.

"In South Africa the compliance standard is EU 2. All Volkswagen Group diesel vehicles of the type EA 189 retailed in South Africa, that is, Volkswagen passenger, Audi, light and medium commercial vehicles, comply with this standard for Nitrogen oxide emissions.

"We would like to apologise to our customers for any uncertainty that may have been created over this issue and want to assure our valued customers, that their vehicles meet all the legal requirements in terms of which the National Regulator approved the sale for use in South Africa.

"There is therefore no action required on either the part of the customer or our dealers."

VW could face legal actions, fines

Australian regulators have launched an inquiry to determine whether consumers have been misled. They say Volkswagen faces legal action and millions of dollars in fines if found to have breached consumer laws.

Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects, Paul Fletcher said: "The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently investigating whether Volkswagen and Audi exposed consumers to false, misleading or deceptive representations."

Critics have taken aim at Volkswagen for what they call its slow response to the scandal in Australia and elsewhere.

While it admitted on September 22 that 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide were fitted with illegal software, Volkswagen only began providing information to customers on Friday about whether their cars and vans were affected.

Volkswagen's chief executive told a German newspaper the company would launch a recall in January for cars affected by its diesel emissions crisis and complete the fix by the end of 2016. 

More on VW emissions scandal:

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