Switzerland bans sales of VW Group cars with outdated emissions systems
Switzerland has banned sales of Volkswagen Group cars with outdated emissions systems in the wake of the test-rigging scandal that started in the United States.
Thomas Rohrbach, spokesman for the Swiss federal office of roadways, said the ban applied to all cars with diesel engines in the Euro 5 emissions category. It includes all VW models as well as Seat, Skoda and others in the VW group.
The ban affects only cars not yet sold or registered, not ones already in circulation. It does not apply to cars now in production with Euro 6 engines, which are not affected by the emissions scandal.
Mr Rohrbach said the ban could potentially affect 180,000 vehicles that have 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel engines.
Volkswagen has said the 11 million vehicles worldwide that contain software involved in the emissions-rigging scandal include some five million cars made by its core VW brand.
VW's brand chief Herbert Diess said 'we are working at full speed on a technical solution that we will present to partners, to our customers and to the public as swiftly as possible'.
The ban comes after in emerged that EU environmental watchdogs warned about the use of 'defeat devices' to fiddle exhaust emissions when cars were being tested after uncovering their use in 2011.
Scientists discovered that some cars had been fitted with the technology after conducting research in 2011, but this information was not made public until 2013.
Yet, despite this knowledge being available to regulators and watchdogs, VW continued to use this technology until this year.
A report in 2013 by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre highlighted the issues around so-called 'defeat devices' which fiddle the results of official car emissions tests by making vehicles appear cleaner than they really are, the Financial Times reported.
They pointed to 'unequivocal' weaknesses in the emissions testing system.
But regulators failed to follow up on the warnings – despite the fact that the technology had been ruled illegal in Europe since 2007.
Meanwhile the Head of Volkswagen’s Porsche unit Matthias Mueller has been named as Volkswagen chief executive, following this week’s emissions-rigging scandal.
His predecessor Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday, after the German car giant admitted cheating emissions tests in the U.S.
The new chief Mueller said in a statement: ‘Under my leadership, Volkswagen will do all it can to develop and implement the strictest compliance and governance standards in the whole industry.’
‘My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation,’ he said, adding that he would make sweeping changes to the way the company was run.
‘At no point was the safety of our customers in danger. We will now have even stricter compliance. Our objective is that the people continue to use and drive our vehicles with confidence and pleasure," he said.