This page last reviewed April 27, 2016


On September 18, ARB, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, notified Volkswagen that they were in violation of California and federal clean air laws because they had hidden software in their diesel cars that allowed those cars to pass emissions tests in the laboratory while producing much higher levels of pollution when they drove outside the laboratory, during normal driving. VW is required to develop a recall plan to fix this issue for these cars. Both the ARB and US EPA will carefully review the plan to ensure that the proposed actions restore the vehicles so that they meet clean emission requirements.

What vehicles are affected?

Affected diesel models include:

  • Audi A3 (MY 2010 - 2013, 2015)(MY 2014**)
  • Audi A6 Quattro (MY 2014 - 2016)
  • Audi A7 Quattro (MY 2014 - 2016)
  • Audi A8 (MY 2014 - 2016)
  • Audi A8L (MY 2014 - 2016)
  • Audi Q5 (MY 2014 - 2016)
  • Audi Q7 (MY 2009 - 2015)(MY2016**)
  • Porsche Cayenne (MY 2013 - 2016)
  • VW Beetle (MY 2013 - 2015)
  • VW Golf (MY 2010 - 2015)
  • VW Golf Sportwagen (MY 2015)
  • VW Jetta (MY 2009 - 2015)
  • VW Jetta Sportwagen (MY 2009 - 2014)
  • VW Passat (MY 2012 - 2015)
  • VW Touareg (MY 2009 - 2016)

  • **MY not certified in California

Can I still drive my Volkswagen diesel car?

Yes. These cars are still safe and legal to drive.

Will my car be recalled?

ARB is working with the US EPA and VW to develop a national recall plan that would cover all affected vehicles in the United States. Under ARB's regulation, VW has until November 20 to provide ARB with a plan to correct the issue. In its plan, VW must fully document how and when it will initiate and complete the recall to ensure the problem is corrected. VW must also document any adverse impacts on the vehicles and consumers associated with the plan. ARB must then evaluate the plan to ensure it will adequately address identified issues.

Why don't you just tell VW to bring the cars in right now?

We need to be confident the plan will correct the problem thus requiring a detailed understanding of the systems VW installed to evade emissions requirements. ARB is working with US EPA, VW, and others to understand the nature and scope of issues with affected vehicles.

We then need to be sure that VW develops and successfully tests an effective fix for each of the three engine types in their cars, since each engine type (Gen 1, 2 and 3) uses different technologies to control pollution.

Finally, it is crucial that whatever action VW takes to fix these cars also protects the consumer. That means the fix will need to consider safety, drivability, fuel economy and the durability of the engine itself and the emission control technologies.

What is involved in a recall?

VW needs to identify who currently owns these cars, and develop a comprehensive plan to reach each and every one of these consumers. The letter they develop will be reviewed by ARB to ensure it is consistent with this case and the law.

Do I need to go to a Smog Check station?

No. The only exception is if you need to take it biennially (every other year) to a Smog Check station as part of your annual DMV registration process.

What about all the additional pollution these cars have been putting into the air?

ARB is in the process of developing an accurate inventory of the amount of excess emissions - that is, pollution - that spewed into California's air by virtue of VW's deception. This requires a complex analysis based on how many miles these cars drove and the "emissions profile" of each engine group (Gen 1,2 and 3) - that is, how much additional pollution was produced under which conditions.

These emission inventories will be used to determine the public health and environmental impacts associated with VW's actions. An accurate inventory is also a central element in our enforcement action. VW will be held accountable for the extra emissions that the vehicles released to the air as part of ARB's enforcement case.

What about other diesel cars by other manufacturers?

On September 25 ARB sent a letter to all vehicle manufacturers who sell cars in California that we are going to be using enhanced testing on every diesel car and light truck from model year 2009 on.

This enhanced testing will include new test cycles in the laboratory developed by ARB specifically for diesel engines, testing emissions while vehicles are driving outside the laboratory, and accessing information from the vehicles' diagnostics systems while they are being driven.

Where can I get information about independent civil actions regarding this issue?

Based on requests from the public, ARB is providing a link to information maintained on this issue by the US District Court: http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/crb/vwmdl