The Indian unit of German auto maker Volkswagen AG on Wednesday asked its dealers to stop the sale of some models of its hatchback Polo with immediate effect because of technical issues.
“Volkswagen India has confirmed a temporary hold on deliveries of its car line Polo due to a technical reason which is currently under evaluation,” said the company in a statement, without elaborating. “This concerns a limited number of cars out of a specific production period. Volkswagen further confirms that deliveries for the non-impacted Polo range continues as per schedule,” it said.
A letter addressed to Volkswagen dealers, however, asked them to stop the sale of all variants of Polo with immediate effect. “We request, not to deliver any Polo vehicle (all variants) with immediate effect till further notice from VW,” the company said in a directive to its dealers.
Mint has reviewed a copy of the letter, issued on Wednesday, signed by two top Volkswagen executives in India: Ashish Gupta, head of after-sales operations, and Pankaj Sharma, head of sales operations.
If there are technical issues, it is expected that Volkswagen should issue a recall of the affected models soon.
Volkswagen India produced 20,030 units of Polo in the April-August period this year. It had sold 13,827 units in the domestic market and 6,052 were exported.
In September, the domestic sales of German auto major Volkswagen’s India unit is learnt to have dropped, a decline after seven months of consistent growth, the Business Standard newspaper reported on 5 October. The company is yet declare its sales volume for September.
In the statement, Volkswagen India said it would like to clarify that the temporary hold on deliveries is not related to the ongoing EA 189 diesel engine controversy. Volkswagen has admitted to installing software aimed at cheating on emissions tests in the US.
Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen AG’s embattled chief executive officer, stepped down last month in the wake of the scandal engulfing the German auto maker.
The auto major had admitted to the irregularities concerning a particular software used in diesel engines in “some 11 million vehicles worldwide”.
Matthias Müller, the newly appointed chief executive of Volkswagen AG, on Tuesday said that his company will start a global recall of affected vehicles in January and the process will be completed by 2016-end.
The German government has launched an investigation into the allegations. India too has written to apex vehicle-testing agency Automotive Research Association of India (Arai) in Pune to evaluate Volkswagen cars.
Arai is probing if Volkswagen models recalled in the US and Europe are also sold in India. Secondly, it wants the testing agency to check if VW uses the same “defeat device”, the software which was manipulated by VW in the US to fudge emissions data in India. “We shall be able to submit our report by the end of this month,” Rashmi Urdhwareshe, director of Arai said in a phone interview. She declined to provide further details.
Defeat device allowed cars to pass emission control tests by showing much lower levels of pollution than in ordinary use. It hid the fact that the emission levels of diesel cars were 40 times higher than the level of pollutants allowed in the US.
Amrit Raj, livemint.com