Consumer Reports has pulled the ratings for some Volkswagen vehicles from its results after an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency found that the company was intentionally misleading about the vehicle’s emissions. The EPA found that Volkswagen deliberately acted to evade the Clean Air Law by installing software on its vehicles designed to fool emission testing trials. It is estimated that 482,000 diesel cars under the Volkswagen and Audi names are affected in the matter.
Consumer Reports said that it is suspending its “recommended” rating of the diesel versions of the Jetta and larger Passat sedans. Many car purchasers rely on the ratings in Consumer Reports when deciding which vehicles to buy. The recommendations will remain suspended until the recall repairs are completed and new tests can be performed.
Volkswagen has been accused of installing software meant to evade federal emissions laws on some VW and Audi cars. When the cars are taken in for clean-air testing, the software code activates all of the car’s emissions systems. However, when testing is complete, some of those systems are turned off and the cars emit higher levels of pollutants.
The EPA claimed that the cars then emitted nitrogen oxide at levels up to 40 times the level allowed by emission standards. The agency has ordered the company to fix the non-compliant vehicles. Volkswagen will recall the vehicles to make sure they meet emissions standards.
Volkswagen said in an emailed statement that it is cooperating with the investigation and would be unable to comment further at this time. The models involved in the recall are the 2009 to 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle and Golf; the 2014 and 2015 Volkswagen Passat, and the 2009 to 2015 Audi A3. Volkswagen and Audi account for 17 of the 44 diesel-powered engine models available for the 2015 model year.