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Volkswagen fitted 'defeat' device in Indian cars: minister Anant Geete

German automaker Volkswagen had used a 'defeat device' in its cars in India, similar to the ones used in the US, to cheat on emission norms, heavy industries minister Anant Geete, told Business Standard.

"ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) conducted checks on cars produced at Volkswagen's factory and the cars met the norms," said the minister on the sidelines of the Make in India Week in Mumbai. "But when these were checked on the road, their emissions were nine times higher. We approached Volkswagen with these facts and pointed out that they had fitted a device that gives a directive to the engine on how should it be run - whether on a test run or not. Volkswagen agreed that they fitted their cars with this device."

But the company denied the claim, with a spokesperson asserting that India-made cars were not equipped with the 'defeat device.'

Earlier this month Jurgen Stackmann, board member for sales and marketing, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, apologised for wrongdoings in India.

"Volkswagen made some big mistakes and I am truly sorry and apologise to our customers, the authorities of this country and our dealers," Stackmann said before the launch of the compact sedan Ameo. 

The minister, however, said action should be taken against the company. "I don't want to comment on what Volkswagen has said. When it is facing action in the US, it is inappropriate that we take no action against them. We also demand to know if VW is making cars as per our emission norms."

In December, Volkswagen announced the recall of 323,700 cars across three brands - Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi - which were built between 2008 and November 2015 in India. Changes have to be made to four engines that belong to the EA 189 family of engines.

"Volkswagen said they will call back all cars fitted with that device. But if further action has to be taken then the responsibility is of the road transport ministry. We have told them that Volkswagen violated norms and they can take action," added Geete.