California Rejects Volkswagen’s Fix for 3.0-Liter V-6 Diesels

Announcement comes as something of a surprise, as a fix was expected to be arriving shortly.

California Volkswagen Diesel Fix
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bad news, all you Beverly Hills house-husbands hoping to mosey down to the Porsche dealership for a diesel-powered Cayenne. California has rejected Volkswagen's proposed recall fix for the carmaker's V-6-powered diesel cars and SUVs.

On Wednesday, the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, announced that VW's plan to fix the roughly 16,000 affected vehicles in the state powered by the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 was inadequate. Models afflicted by the recall, which covers vehicles from model years 2009 to 2016, include the Porsche CayenneVW Touareg, and Audi A6, A7, Q7, and A8.

"VW's and Audi's submissions are incomplete, substantially deficient, and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles to the claimed certified configuration," CARB wrote in a letter, according to Reuters. Volkswagen's submissions did not make clear exactly how the carmaker would reduce the emissions, and would not even allow CARB to fully determine if the plan would fix the problem, according to NBC News.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told Reuters that the organization was in agreement with CARB on the issue, and that Volkswagen had not yet presented a suitable fix for the V-6 turbodiesel engines.

The move by the environmental board came as something of a shock, as a member of Volkswagen's legal team said that a fix for the the 85,000 cars and SUVs powered by the 3.0-liter diesel engine would not be "complicated." Back in May, sources close to the problem reported VW was on the verge of announcing a solution for the turbodiesel V-6s.

If VW cannot develop a fix that governmental bodies find acceptable, the carmaker could be forced to buy back all the affected vehicles, at a cost that could run into the billions of dollars—pushing the $15 billion tab of VW's settlement with the U.S. government even higher.

CARB said it will not have enough information until December to determine whether a fix for the 3.0-liter diesel engines can be implemented at all.

A spokesperson for Volkswagen responded to CARB's statement by declaring the move "a procedural step under California state law." VW, the representative said, will keep working with the EPA and CARB to develop a solution as quickly as possible.