VW defeat devices were illegal under certain circumstances, EU’s highest court says

VW defeat devices were illegal under certain circumstances, EU's highest court says

The Volkswagen logo is featured at the 2022 New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City, USA, April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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  • Software limited emissions controls at certain temperatures
  • Automaker says ruling confirms its legal position
  • VW says system designed to protect against engine damage

BRUSSELS, July 14 (Reuters) – Software that Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) used to modify car emissions at certain temperatures constituted an illegal defeat device if used for most of the year, the Supreme Court of Justice said. the EU on Thursday confirmed in a statement the company said the software was allowed.

The ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is the latest step in a series of cases following the German carmaker’s 2015 admission of wrongdoing in the Dieselgate scandal.

“A device that ensures compliance with NOx emission limits only in the temperature window is basically a defeat device,” the court said in a statement.

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The ruling concerns software that Volkswagen has installed to control exhaust gas recirculation to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions that can cause respiratory problems in humans.

The court said this software reduced recirculation, ultimately to zero, at temperatures outside 15-33 Celsius, pushing NOx emissions above EU legal limits.

The court said that temperatures below 15C are normal within the EU, and the defeat device had therefore compromised emissions limits under normal conditions of use.

If a device was strictly designed to prevent serious engine damage that could cause an accident, then it may not be illegal, the court said, but even in this case, the tamper device would be illegal if left under normal conditions for most of the year. would work. driving conditions.

“Volkswagen AG sees its legal position confirmed by the ruling of the European Court of Justice. According to the criteria set by the EU court in its ruling, the temperature windows used in the vehicles of the VW Group are allowed,” said Volkswagen. in a statement.

“They protect against direct risk to the engine in the form of damage or accidents. The risks are so serious that they pose a concrete danger when driving the vehicle,” it said.

Austrian consumers who bought affected vehicles between 2011 and 2013 want to cancel these sales agreements.

Austrian courts hearing cases related to the software must decide whether the devices are allowed in the specific cases covered by the case, the EU court said.

The court said a seller can be forced to repair or replace goods that do not conform to their sales contract – and if they fail to do so, the consumer may be entitled to a price reduction or the cancellation of their order.

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Reporting by Kate Abnett; additional reporting by Victoria Waldersee; edit by Jason Neely

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