Release 04-03      

January 21, 2004


Jerry Martin
Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990
Volkswagen Pays $552,500 Settlement

SACRAMENTO -- The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced today it has settled its case against Volkswagen of America, Incorporated (Volkswagen) for $552,500. Volkswagen distributed and sold vehicles in California that were not certified to meet state automobile emission standards.

"Certification of automobiles assures control of emissions and accuracy of our predictive modeling," said ARB Executive Officer, Catherine Witherspoon. "A vehicle not designed according to our regulatory standards and operating in our state is an impediment to achieving our clean air goals."

Volkswagen delivered to California retail locations 85 new 2002 model year vehicles that were not certified by ARB for sale in California. Volkswagen admits that the vehicles were subsequently offered for sale and 84 were sold to California residents. This, Volkswagen maintains, was due to an error in Volkswagen's vehicle order guide and electronic vehicle order system. Volkswagen self-reported these facts to the ARB, stopped sales of the affected vehicles and initiated recovery of the affected vehicles for shipment outside of California.

Volkswagen has taken actions to prevent the recurrence of these violations. The company has located 81 of the vehicles, repurchased them and removed them from the state. Despite Volkswagen's diligent efforts three vehicles have not been recovered.

The settlement monies have been deposited in the state's Air Pollution Control Fund (APCF). The APCF is used to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our web site at