VW seller recalled 732 cars in Malta following emission scandal
The local Volkswagen seller, Continental Cars Limited, recalled 732 vehicles in the wake of last year’s emissions scandal, which rocked the world’s biggest carmaker, this newspaper can confirm.
“The affected models – 436 Volkswagen, 271 Audi and 25 Seat cars – were manufactured between 2009 and last year and had a Euro V engine. Our plan is to complete all repairs by the middle of next year,” a spokesman for the importer said.
“Unfortunately, a significant number of customers did not even bother to reply to our invite and have not turned up to have their vehicle seen to, even if it is a half-an-hour’s job,” he added.
The representative was replying to questions by Times of Malta in the wake of the criticism levelled by the Association for Consumer Rights, which said that car owners had been left in the dark. It also echoed calls made in August by another consumer organisation, which called for compensation.
The scandal came to light in the United States this time last year when it was discovered that Volkswagen cars had been fitted with a software device which cheated emission tests. The Wolfsburg-based car manufacturer later admitted that about 11 million vehicles worldwide were affected.
The Continental Cars spokes-man insisted that the problem did not affect new models, while pointing out the recalled vehicles were still roadworthy.
From a technical perspective, he said, the pace of the repairs was moving according to the instructions received from Germany.
The owners of the affected models were being contacted in batches, according to the vehicles’ chassis number.
“Up to the start of October, we had fixed 10 per cent of the Audis and about 15 per cent of the Volkswagen models, including a number of second-hand UK-imported vehicles that were flagged to us by Transport Malta,” the spokes-man said.
The importer was also checking all cars being serviced in its facilities regardless of their year of manufacture, he added.
Asked whether they were considering any form compensation to the owners of the affected cars, the spokesman said the company would “follow the position adopted in the rest of Europe”.
Since the scandal broke out, it transpired that the factory-fitted software would automatically activate itself during laboratory emission testing.
According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, during regular driving the software would automatically turn off the device, most likely to save fuel or else to improve the car’s torque and acceleration.