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VW recalls diesel vehicles in China to correct emissions

Published 12/10/2015

A Volkswagen Passat CC is tested for exhaust emissions
A Volkswagen Passat CC is tested for exhaust emissions

Volkswagen is recalling 1,950 diesel vehicles in China to correct engine software the German car maker has admitted cheats on emissions tests.

The company said the recall applied to 1,946 Tiguan sport utility vehicles and four Passat B6 saloons, all of them imported. It said technical solutions were being developed and had yet to be submitted to Chinese authorities for approval.

VW has admitted installing software dubbed "defeat devices" on Volkswagen and Audi cars which switch on pollution controls when the vehicles undergo emissions tests, but switch off during driving to improve performance.

The manufacturer says a total of 11 million cars worldwide have the software.

Volkswagen's business in China, the largest car market by number of vehicles sold, has suffered little impact from the global emissions scandal due to the lack of popularity of diesel cars among Chinese drivers. But foreign companies are closely watched by Chinese authorities and state media publicises suggestions of misconduct.

"Volkswagen would like to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers," the company said in a statement.

"We would like to assure that we will do everything humanly possible to win back trust and take care of any concerns."

Diesel is widely used in lorries in China, the world's second-largest economy, but powered just 0.3% of cars sold last year in China, or a few thousand units.

Volkswagen is, along with General Motors, one of the most popular vehicle brands in China, but is struggling with an unexpectedly sharp downturn in the market and fast-changing consumer tastes.

Car sales in China declined in August for a third straight month, contracting by 3.4% from a year earlier.

VW blamed weakness in China for a 16% decline in its second-quarter global profit. First-half sales in China were off 0.5%.

In April VW China president Jochem Heizmann said the company lagged overall market growth because it lacked products in the budget SUV segment, where sales are surging.

In 2013 Volkswagen recalled 384,000 vehicles in China to fix gearboxes after state television publicised complaints about them.

Singapore has suspended sales of Volkswagen diesel vehicles, adding to the German carmaker's woes.

Data from the company's Singapore office said that cheating software was found on 650 Singapore-registered vehicles.

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