In Brief

Why Volkswagen is struggling with new emissions tests

Carmaker facing production stoppages as stricter standards cause problems

Volkswagen has announced plans to temporarily cease production at its primary factory later this year following the introduction of tough new emissions standards by the EU. 

The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), mandatory for all new cars from 1 September, will make it harder for car manufacturers to pass exhaust emissions tests. It replaces the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) system.

Speaking at a VW meeting in Wolfsburg yesterday, company chief Herbert Diess said that production will halt at the plant in the German city on set days in August and September, Reuters reports. 

In order to meet the tougher emissions requirements, changes will be made to more than 200 models during the downtime at the factory, which employs around 64,000 people, the news site says.

Following the announcement, VW’s development head, Frank Welsch, told Autocar that the German car giant needs “more time” and “more people” to prepare for the changes. 

“By 1 September, everything needs to be fixed, done and certified. That’s all of our portfolio, and our portfolio is big,” he said. “We’re not prepared for new certification for all of our cars in one year.”

The issues are not exclusive to VW. Motor1 reports that the group’s sports car brand Porsche has also announced plans to temporarily suspend production later this year in order to adapt for the WLTP tests. 

The VW suspensions come in the wake of the emissions cheating scandal that has engulfed the company since 2015. 

The company’s former chief, Martin Winterkorn, was charged last month with “conspiring to mislead regulators” by US prosecutors in Detroit, the BBC reports. 

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