U.S. Regulators Reject Volkswagen's Recall Plan

Jan 14, 2016 04:03 PM EST | John Nassivera

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Volkswagen's emission-cheating scandal continues to remain a thorn in its side, as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has rejected its plan to recall vehicles with 2-liter diesel engines that trick emission tests.

The agency said Tuesday that the solution was incomplete and didn't "adequately address overall impacts on vehicle performance, emissions and safety," BBC News reported.

The main issue for the CARB was that the proposal didn't address how it would affect factors like the engine's performance, the amount of emissions control and the vehicle's safety, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some experts believe that a solution that strengthens the car's emissions control could result in a decline in fuel economy and overall performance.

The board added that VW's proposed fix wasn't fast enough and that it will continue its investigation and work with the Germany-based automaker to find a better solution.

The proposed plan was also unable to win over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which filed a complaint against VW in federal court last week for using a defeat device to fool customers and inspectors into thinking that the vehicles complied with U.S. regulations, even though they were actually emitting up to 40 times more pollution than the limit set by federal standards, NPR noted.

The EPA said that there are nearly 600,000 diesel-powered cars producing harmful air pollution in the U.S. because of VW's scandal.

"Volkswagen made a decision to cheat on emissions tests and then tried to cover it up," CARB chair Mary D. Nichols said Tuesday while announcing the rejection of VW's solution. "They continued and compounded the lie and when they were caught they tried to deny it. The result is thousands of tons of nitrogen oxide that have harmed the health of Californians. They need to make it right. Today's action is a step in the direction of assuring that will happen."

The scandal, which also affects up to 11 million vehicles worldwide, has led to investigations in several countries and has dealt severe blows to VW's business, according to BBC News. The automaker faces fines in the U.S. as high as tens of billions of dollars, and its sales fell by 4.8 percent in 2015 to 5.82 million vehicles, which was the first decline for the company in 11 years.

VW Chairman Herbert Diess, however, said last week that he believes his company will find a proper solution to the scandal soon.

"We will bring a package together which satisfies our customers first and foremost and then also the regulators," Diess said.

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