Court Rejects VW’s Plan to Fix Engines With Software Update

Germans Order Retrofitting Instead; VW to Appeal
VW plant in Germany
The VW logo on a sign at the Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH plant in Zwickau, Germany. (Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg News)

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Volkswagen AG lost another lawsuit in a German court over its software fix for engines in the wake of the diesel scandal that tarnished the reputation of Europe’s biggest carmaker.

The Schleswig Administrative Court, which already issued a similar ruling a year ago, toppled the German transport regulator’s clearance of the software for 62 older diesel models, according to environmental group DUH, which brought the case.

The judges revoked the permit that allowed VW to fix engines by updating the software instead of retrofitting them with potentially more costly hardware.

DUH argued the engine EA-189 still illegally dodges environmental rules because it switches off emission cleaning amid low temperatures, turning the updates into so-called defeat devices. VW had argued these exceptions are necessary to protect the engines from damage and that car security takes precedence.


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Volkswagen called the Jan. 17 ruling wrong and promised to appeal but said it sees “no threat” of having cars removed from roads. The company has already challenged the February 2023 ruling that is now pending on appeal.

KBA, the German transport regulator, said it cleared the permit only after ordering VW to make adjustments. The agency will review the judgment once its written version is available and then decide on any further steps.

DUH said it has filed suits over similar software used by cars from Mercedes-Benz Group AG, BMW AG, Stellantis NV’s Fiat and 15 other manufacturers.

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