Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority has ordered Volkswagen to recall all diesel cars equipped with the emission-cheating defeat device, rejecting the car-maker’s proposal for a voluntary recall.
According to Germany’s Minister of Transport, Alexander Dobrindt, Volkswagen will have to present details of new software for diesel cars with 2.0-litre diesel engines this month before it starts rolling out the replacement technology in early 2016.
Developing a fix for vehicles with smaller 1.6-litre engines is expected to take longer, as these vehicles will require hardware changes in addition to the software update.
Dobrindt suggested it may take up until September 2016 for Volkswagen to present a solution.
"VW is ordered ... to remove the software from all vehicles and to take appropriate measures to ensure that the emissions rules are fulfilled," the minister said.
Additional emission tests are currently underway on 2016 models, which Volkswagen said may have been equipped with another type of software.
Out of the 11 million cars that have had the defeat device installed, 2.8 million have been sold in Germany.
First revealed by the US Environment Protection Agency last month, the technology allowed the car maker to cheat in emission tests by detecting when the car is being tested and taking measures to mitigate nitrogen oxide emissions for the duration of the testing. In essence, the vehicles were only employing its emission-scrubbing systems during the lab tests, as continuous operations would have too many disadvantages for the cars’ owners.
German media reported earlier this week that up to 30 Volkswagen managers were suspended due to the scandal. Falko Rudolph, head of Volkswagen’s transmissions plant in Kassel Germany, was among the suspended managers. Rudolph previously led the engine plant in Salzgitter and was responsible for the development of new diesel engines between 2006 and 2010.
Volkswagen's UK boss Paul Willis reassured legislators the firm wanted to ‘do the right thing’ and ‘fully resolve’ the issues.
"I can affirm today Volkswagen Group's goal is to be the world's most sustainable vehicle manufacturer by 2018,” Willis said.
"We are continuing to work carefully and diligently to remedy the affected engines. Since last weekend we've started to send personal letters to each and every affected customer.”
There are approximately 1.2 million vehicles equipped with the defeat device in the UK with recalls due to start in the first quarter of 2016.
A survey by consumer group Which? revealed earlier this week that up to 90 per cent of owners of Volkswagen diesel cars manufactured between 2008 and 2015 believe they should be compensated by the car maker.
Some 96 per cent cited fuel efficiency as an important factor when they bought their car, while 90 per cent said the environmental impact was a key consideration.