Almost 1.2 million Volkswagen cars sold in the UK are fitted with so-called “defeat devices” which have been used to allow the vehicles to cheat on emissions tests.
The cars affected are under the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, and Skoda marques.
The German automotive giant will be giving vehicle identification numbers to retailers and is said to be working on a process that will allow customers to see if they own an affected vehicle.
The company will soon present a plan to regulators on how it will fix and address the issue.
A total of 1,189,906 vehicles in the UK have been affected:
- Volkswagen cars 508,276
- Audi 393,450
- Seat 76,773
- Skoda 131,569
- VW commercial vehicles 79,838
The company claims that all the affected vehicles are still safe to drive.
The UK has been a significant market for Volkswagen’s diesel cars – it is the second largest in market after Germany – so it comes as no surprise that so many cars in Britain are affected.
In 2001 the Labour party introduced a system which penalised cars that emitted high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). Diesel cars typically emit less CO2 compared to petrol cars and many consumers in the UK opt for diesel cars for that reason.
The Volkswagen emissions scandal began when US regulators found out that some of its vehicles had software that allowed diesel engines to function differently when they were being tested.
This means that the cars actually emit much more pollutants in real world driving conditions compared to when they are under testing conditions.
The company estimated that around 11 million vehicles worldwide are affected.
Shortly after the scandal VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned and Porsche boss Matthias Mueller was named as his replacement.