Volkswagen Singapore is ready to fix the first batch of vehicles affected by the global diesel scandal.
The 18 Tiguan crossovers and two Caddy commercial vans will have their engines reprogrammed so that they meet Euro 5 emission standards at all times – and not just when they are being tested.
Volkswagen Group Singapore (VGS) managing director Ricky Tay said the firm is awaiting approval from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) before proceeding further.
He said 956 vehicles in Singapore are affected, including 300 unsold Touran MPVs which have been mothballed since the Government ordered the sale of affected models to be halted when the scandal broke last October. “We will probably have to sell these at a discount or ship them out,” Mr Tay said of the unsold cars. “The new model Touran is already here.”
The 956 vehicles here are part of about 11 million VWs affected worldwide by the saga, which involved the use of “cheating” software that makes vehicles meet emission standards when they are tested. They revert to a far dirtier mode when driven normally on the road.
In a joint statement, the NEA and LTA said: “The National Environment Agency is verifying emissions reports provided by the German Transport Authority and Volkswagen Group Singapore before authorising VGS to proceed with the technical fixes for the affected vehicles.
“NEA will then work with LTA to closely monitor the rectification of all affected vehicles by VGS to the emission standards stipulated in the Environmental Protection and Management (Vehicular Emissions) Regulations.”
Mr Tay said most of the affected vehicles will be fixed by engine reprogramming, but a small number will require new air restrictors to be fitted to meet the Euro 5 emission standard. “It will take less than 30 minutes per car,” he said. “But we can’t guarantee that owners will come in when they are informed.”
Volkswagen is setting up a website for customers to check if their cars are affected. Progress on the recall will be posted there as well.
Volkswagen hopes to finish fixing all the affected cars by end of the year. Mr Tay admitted: “We need to regain customers’ trust.”
Meanwhile, businessman Sanjay Samnani, 44, the first Volkswagen customer here to sue the German manufacturer and demand that it take back a Touran he bought last April, has lost his case. Mr Samnani said he is filing an appeal.