Volkswagen recalls diesel cars in China while Singapore suspends sales of them

BEIJING, China – Volkswagen said Monday it is recalling 1,950 diesel vehicles in China to change engine software it has admitted cheats on emissions tests and Singapore suspended sales of the company’s diesel cars.

The German automaker admitted last month that 11 million of its vehicles worldwide were fitted with cheating software to beat emission tests.

The recall in China applies to 1,946 Tiguan sport utility vehicles and four Passat B6 sedans, all of them imported, the company said. It said it was developing technical solutions and had yet to submit them to Chinese authorities for approval.

Volkswagen’s business in China, the largest auto market by number of vehicles sold, has suffered little impact from the emissions scandal due to the lack of popularity of diesel cars among Chinese drivers. But foreign companies are closely watched by Chinese authorities, and state media publicize suggestions of misconduct.

Europe’s biggest automaker has acknowledged it installed software dubbed “defeat devices” on diesel vehicles that switched on pollution controls when cars underwent emissions tests and switched off during driving to improve performance.

“Volkswagen would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers,” the company said in a statement. “We would like to assure that we will do everything humanly possible to win back trust and take care of any concerns.”

In Singapore, the National Environment Agency said in a statement that sales of the company’s diesel cars would be suspended until models were rectified to meet official emissions guidelines, adding that it “takes a serious view of any misrepresentation by Volkswagen Group.”

Cheating software was found in about 650 Singapore-registered cars, according to data from Volkswagen’s Singapore office.

There were 21,801 Volkswagen passenger cars on the roads in Singapore at the end of 2014, according to the Land Transport Authority, but a breakdown on the the number of diesel-powered vehicles was not available.


Associated Press Writer Annabelle Liang in Singapore contributed to this report.