WASHINGTON — Car shoppers probably won't be able to get their hands on 2016 Volkswagen cars with 2.0-liter diesel engines until early next year, another bit of fallout from the ongoing VW diesel-emissions scandal.
Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn on Thursday told a House panel that the automaker has withdrawn its application to the Environmental Protection Agency for certification of emissions regulations of those vehicles.
"In Volkswagen's recent ongoing discussions with the regulators, we described to the EPA and (California Air Resources Board) that our emissions-control strategy included a software feature that should be disclosed to and approved by them as an auxiliary emissions control device (AECD) in connection with the certification process," Horn said. "As a result, we have withdrawn the application for certification of our model year 2016 vehicles. We are working with the agencies to continue the certification process."
Volkswagen told Edmunds that an AECD is not a so-called "defeat device" that skirts pollution regulations. Simply put, it is part of a vehicle's emissions-control system that must be declared to federal regulators.
The automaker has not said exactly when it will submit a new application to the EPA for diesel-vehicle certification. But the process is expected to continue into next year, as the EPA also carefully scrutinizes the VW diesel vehicles with tougher on-road and bench testing to make sure they comply.
In the meantime, Volkswagen's 2016 gasoline vehicles are on sale now at Volkswagen dealerships and have been certified by the EPA.
Horn said in his House testimony that diesel-powered vehicles account for about 20 percent of VW's U.S. sales.
In addition, more Jetta diesel shoppers are looking at the Chevrolet Cruze in the last two weeks.
VW Golf SportWagen diesel shoppers are still primarily cross-shopping against other VW models, with notable increases among those also looking at the Volkswagen Tiguan.
Edmunds says: Car shoppers in the market for a 2016 diesel vehicle still have lots of choices, despite Volkswagen dropping out of the diesel market for the time being.