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    VOW3   DE0007664039

VOLKSWAGEN AG

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Volkswagen : EU court adviser finds car defeat devices broadly illegal

09/23/2021 | 04:47am EDT
FILE PHOTO: Hearing over VW diesel emissions cheating scandal, in Braunschweig

BRUSSELS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Software Volkswagen AG used to alter pollutant emissions based on the temperature and altitude is illegal unless it prevents potentially dangerous sudden damage to the engine, an adviser to the EU's top court said on Thursday.

The finding, if confirmed by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), is the latest step in a series of cases following the German carmaker's 2015 admission of wrongdoing in the Dieselgate scandal.

Judges at the CJEU typically follow opinions of the advocate general, but are not bound to.

Volkswagen said the temperature windows used in VW group vehicles was permissible because their their purpose was to prevent sudden and immediate risks of damage to the engine.

The case, brought by consumers in Austria, centers on software controlling a valve that recirculates exhaust gases from the engine outlet. This reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which can cause respiratory problems in humans.

The software shuts off the valve at temperatures outside the range of 15-33 Celsius (59-91 F) and at altitudes above 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), increasing NOx emissions. The consumers contend this is a prohibited defeat device, for which they should be compensated.

In his legal opinion, CJEU advocate general Athanasios Rantos noted the court ruled last December that emissions-rigging software was illegal, even if it contributed to preventing aging or clogging up of the engine.

Rantos said the temperature window was not representative of real driving conditions in Austria and neighboring Germany, as the average temperature was significantly lower than 15 C. Vehicles would also often be driven above 1,000 meters.

The software was a "defeat device," he said, and could only be justified if a malfunctioning of the valve had a sudden impact on the engine, such as a power failure while being driven, even if the vehicle undergoes regular maintenance.

The advocate general said that it was for the Austrian courts to determine where the defeat device was necessary. He added that one court had said this was impossible to do.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels and Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt; editing by Barbara Lewis)


© Reuters 2021
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Sales 2021 249 B 290 B 290 B
Net income 2021 13 957 M 16 253 M 16 253 M
Net cash 2021 34 202 M 39 828 M 39 828 M
P/E ratio 2021 6,89x
Yield 2021 3,80%
Capitalization 119 B 138 B 138 B
EV / Sales 2021 0,34x
EV / Sales 2022 0,29x
Nbr of Employees 632 825
Free-Float 56,8%
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Herbert Diess Chairman-Management Board
Arno Antlitz Head-Finance & Information Technology
Hans Dieter Pötsch Chairman-Supervisory Board
Thomas Schmall-von Westerholt Head-Technology
Kurt Michels Chief Compliance Officer
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