Volkswagen will notify 5M customers as lawmakers investigate ‘defeat devices’

By Erin Ayers on September 30, 2015

Volkswagen200x200Volkswagen AG this week took a “first step” toward addressing accusations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the German automaker installed illegal devices in its diesel vehicles designed to subvert emissions testing.

Volkswagen said in a statement that all affected customers would be notified in the coming weeks. An estimated five million passenger vehicles will require service to correct the emissions issue out of about 11 million Volkswagens and Audis worldwide.

“All vehicles are technically safe and roadworthy,” Volkswagen noted in its statement.

The company faces lawsuits, regulatory actions, and now scrutiny from federal lawmakers due to the scandal. Members of U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce this week sent letters to the company requesting documents relating to the “defeat devices” that allegedly allowed Volkswagen diesel vehicles to pass U.S. emissions tests while violating actual federal standards. Congressional members also sent a letter to the EPA requesting information to help determine the extent of the problem.

“It seems Volkswagen had a dirty little secret, and it’s not just consumers who are feeling betrayed. There are many unanswered questions and we will get the facts and the answers that the American people deserve,” said Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), in a statement on the congressional actions.

Full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO) added, “The Clean Air Act has been put in place for very good reason—to protect the public health and keep Americans safe.  It is the law of the land, and we must make sure that EPA has the tools necessary to enforce these policies and also detect any fraud that may be occurring.  We will continue to investigate this deceptive activity on the part of Volkswagen to ensure that these blatant violations do not happen again and consumers can trust the products that they buy.”'

Erin is the managing editor of Advisen’s Front Page News. She has been covering property-casualty insurance since 2000. Previously, Erin served as editor-in-chief of The Standard, New England’s Insurance Weekly. Erin is based in Boston, Mass. Contact Erin at [email protected].