Volkswagen to recall more than 3,000 Vento cars in India over emission issues

German carmaker Volkswagen on Friday said it was recalling 3,877 of its Vento sedans in India, as their carbon monoxide (CO) emission exceeded the legal threshold limits during tests carried out by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

The recall is restricted to the 1.5-litre diesel engine with manual gearboxes. The company has, with immediate effect, temporarily suspended sales of the manual gearbox version of the Vento with this type of engine.

The results run counter to a statement by a global company senior in February, Jurgen Stackmann, that Volkswagen cars do not violate any emission norms in India. Speaking on the US-based scandal on its vehicles in this regard, he'd apologised for it but said Volkswagen cars were in line with Indian norms.

Volkswagen India said it was analysing the issue and would propose technical measures to ARAI to resolve the inconsistency at the earliest. Once approved and confirmed by the authorities, they'd implement the measures and resume production (the factory is in Pune) and sales of the model.

The company added that the new problem was not connected to the global (nitrogen oxide) emissions scam. All other diesel models and variants of Volkswagen India conform to the norms and continue to be produced and sold, it said.

Union heavy industries minister Anant Geete had in February stated that Volkswagen cars had been found to be exceeding permissible emission limits by nine times and that the road transport ministry had been asked to take necessary action.

Last December, Volkswagen India announced the recall of 323,700 cars across three brands – Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi – which were made between 2008 and November 2015 in India. Changes had to be made to four engines that belong to the EA189 family. The recall was part of those involving 11 million units by the company globally.

Meanwhile, Czech auto maker SkodaAuto has followed parent company Volkswagen and has temporarily suspended sales of the 1.5 diesel variant of the Rapid having manual transmission. The voluntary pause in sales has come into effect from Friday.

“The issue in concern does not affect the ŠKODA Rapid, therefore, ŠKODA AUTO India will not conduct a recall pertaining to this issue,” ŠKODA India spokesperson said.

Industry sources said that the Rapid successfully passed the Conformity of Production test conducted by ARAI unlike the Volkswagen Vento which did not though both models are powered by the same engine.

ŠKODA AUTO India will continue to sell the Rapid models which are powered by 1.6 MPI Petrol engine and the 1.5 TDI diesel engine with the Automatic Transmission.