extends deadline to review VW diesel emissions fix
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[December 19, 2015]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The California Air
Resources Board said on Friday it was extending a deadline to approve or
reject a diesel emissions repair plan submitted by Volkswagen AG
(VOWG_p.DE) for nearly 500,000 2.0 liter vehicles until Jan. 14.
On Nov. 20, VW submitted a repair plan to the Environmental
Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board for 482,000
diesel Jetta, Beetle, Passat and Golf cars built between 2009 and
2015 with software that allows them to emit up to 40 times the
legally allowable pollution in real-world driving.
In a letter to VW, the Air Resources Board said that after getting
updates from VW this week on its proposed plan, it would extend its
deadline to consider the plan by about three weeks.
VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said the automaker continues "to
fully cooperate with EPA and CARB as we work to develop an approved
remedy as quickly as possible."
VW has said that newer vehicles will require a software upgrade, but
older vehicles will require the addition of new emissions hardware,
along with new software.
On Thursday, VW appointed compensation expert Ken Feinberg to design
and manage an independent claims program that could include buyback
offers, cash compensation or other remedies. VW faces more than 500
civil lawsuits over the diesel emissions.
The EPA and California are awaiting a separate repair plan from VW
by early February for 85,000 larger luxury cars and SUVs with 3.0
liter engines with a separate emissions issue.
VW halted sales of 2016 2.0 liter diesel models in September and
expanded the halt to larger 2016 diesel models last month. It also
applies to certified pre-owned diesel vehicles on dealer lots.
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VW faces investigations around the world, including from the U.S.
Justice Department, and could face up to $21 billion in U.S. fines
for violating the Clean Air Act.
VW has said the software affected up to 11 million vehicles
worldwide, mostly in Europe. This week, VW won approval to begin
fixing 8.5 million vehicles in Europe starting early next year.
The EPA declined to comment on Europe's approval of the VW fix.
Chris Grundler, who heads EPA's Office of Transportation and Air
Quality, told Reuters on Wednesday "that the Volkswagens in America
are very different than those in Europe."
(This story corrects to change date of 3.0 liter fix plan to
February from January in the seventh paragraph.)
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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