In a statement made by the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Mr. Nitin Gadkari said that the ongoing emission scandal in the US is not a concern for India. The controversy involving the German auto conglomerate Volkswagen was unravelled in the US where a ‘defeat device’ was used to detect if the car was being tested to alter the emissions. Volkswagen CEO, Martin Winterkorn, has stepped down after the company admitted to the irregularities while the company has also ordered an internal probe.
The American government has reacted strictly to the irregularities and VW faces approximately $18 billion (approximately 1.5 lakh crore rupees) fine for the 4.82 lakh cars sold under the Audi and Volkswagen brands. The specific engine is the 2.0 TDI engine and is found in the Audi A3, A4, A6 sedans and Q3, Q5 SUVs sold in India. It is also sold with the Skoda Octavia, Superb, Yeti and the Volkswagen Jetta and the Passat. Volkswagen India is tight-lipped about the irregularities being extended to the subcontinent. If we go by reports of a total of 11 million cars sold globally, the Indian units will certainly be a part of affected cars.
In India, though, we are still enforcing BSIV emission norms which are equivalent to Euro-4 while the US emission norms are at Euro-6 moving towards Euro-7. Hence, even without the defeat device, the emissions from these engines may not breach the Indian regulations which would make them legal in India and can be found out only after revised testing.
General Motors were embroiled in a similar controversy in India in 2013. ARAI had found out that none of the production Chevrolet Tavera engines sold between 2005 and 2013 complied with the emission norms. GM India engineers used to send specially built cars to ARAI for compliance testing. GM India had admitted to the fraud and faced a measly Rs 11 crore fine for the 1.14 lakh cars sold till 2013. It is still not clear if the fine was imposed.
We, at CarWale, are of the opinion that such cases should be pursued diligently by government organisations and hefty fines should be imposed on the guilty to discourage any attempts at undermining the law and order of the country.