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May, 31, 2016

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Volkswagen receives approval to fix diesel cars

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Troubled German automaker Volkswagen won regulatory approval to recall 18,798 diesel cars in Taiwan that were fitted with devices designed to cheat emissions tests, starting this March, announced the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA, 環保署) on Thursday.

The EPA invited academics and representatives from the Consumer Protection Committee (CPC, 消基會) to probe Volkswagen's recall proposal, which had been planned according to guidelines from Germany's federal motor transport authority.

Volkswagen's Taiwan branch stated the planned fix would be done in stages, first "upgrading the software" installed in approximately 10,454 of the 2.0-liter models from Audi, VWPC, Skoda and VWCW. The recall period for such models will be from March to October of this year.

There are around 8,343 of its 1.6-liter VWPC, Skoda and VWCV brands that would need upgrades and installments of a piece of mesh to regulate air flow, in between this October and June in 2016. At the final stage, there will be one 1.2-liter VWPC vehicle that will need upgrading next June.

Modifications will take from thirty minutes to one hour per vehicle, according to EPA estimates.

EPA Urged Fast Action

Officials vowed to actively monitor and ensure that Volkswagen commits to its recall procedures. After the assessment meeting, officials concluded the firm should complete all 2.0-liter recalls by this October, and finish upgrading cars with a 1.6-liter engine by next June.

Volkswagen should also provide incentives to encourage diesel owners to send in their cars sooner. The administration plans to carry out tests to confirm the effectiveness of the upgrades, said officials.

Car owners can expect to receive notifications from Volkswagen's Taiwan branch in the near future, and are hugely encouraged to cooperate with the recalls to stop the rigged cars from spewing harmful levels of nitrogen oxide, stated the EPA.

The emissions scandal was exposed last September when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Volkswagen diesel cars had installed emissions control software that help cars to meet national standards. The "defeat device" would turn on its pollution controls when the car was undergoing testing, but turn off again when it was back on the road.

Europe's largest carmaker later admitted that about 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide carried software that cheats emission tests.

The outbreak of the scandal has dealt the company a heavy blow, leading to its first net loss in the last 15 years.

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Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 14, EPA official Chen Hsien-heng (陳咸亨) announces that the administration has approved Volkswagen's proposal to fix diesel cars with compromised emissions systems. Beginning this March, the firm is set to gradually recall and upgrade a total of 18,798 affected vehicles in Taiwan. (CNA)

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