Volkswagen Emission Software is Faulty, German Court Rules

A Volkswagen logo on display
A Volkswagen logo on display in the visitors area of the Volkswagen AG e-Golf electric automobile factory in Dresden, Germany. (Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg News)

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A Volkswagen AG Golf model that regulates polluting emissions based on the outside temperature doesn’t comply with the law, a German court ruled.

In a ruling issued late Feb. 20, an administrative court revoked a permit by the German transport regulator that allowed VW to implement the software in the cars in the wake of the diesel scandal.

The case was brought by environmental group DUH, which said as many as 10 million vehicles might need to be retrofitted or taken off the streets. The group now also plans to target other VW models and take action against BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

The German Ministry of Transport said the regulator, KBA, will review the judgment once its written version is available.

DUH claimed that the authorities were allowing VW to get away with a softer form of a defeat device that again dodged emission regulations. The group scored a victory at Europe’s top court which had already told VW that its software must comply with EU regulations.

Volkswagen said after the ruling that the software is needed to tame risks to the engine to avoid damage or even accidents and it would have been irresponsible to sell cars without it.

The ruling can be appealed so there’s no immediate threat of regulators revoking car licenses or ordering hardware retrofits, the carmaker said.

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