BERLIN -- Volkswagen Group said it has refitted 1.23 million diesel cars with a software update on pollution control systems. The automaker denied that its fixes may damage the vehicles' engines.
The European Commission fears software updates carried out by VW could inflict greater stress on engine components, Spiegel reported, citing unnamed staff at the EU's executive branch.
Commission officials are basing their concerns on feedback from experts at the Vela emissions laboratory in northern Italy, the weekly magazine reported, without providing more detail.
VW denied its technical modifications would cause damage to the cars. "The software update will have no adverse influences on [fuel] consumption or the durability of the engine and its components," a company spokesman said.
The EU has asked VW for guarantees its technical fixes will work. "We need VW to guarantee, in a legally binding way and without any time limit, that the repairs will work and do not have any negative impact," a Commission official told Reuters on Monday.
Germany's VZBV consumer lobby is backing the EU's call for VW to guarantee its technical fixes will have no negative effects on vehicles. But it made no progress in a meeting with VW on Friday to secure such a guarantee, a spokeswoman said.
An advanced guarantee declaration is not necessary," a VW spokesman said, noting the carmaker's diesel fixes were subject to comprehensive tests to ensure there will be no negative impact on engine components or emissions clean-up systems.
VW said the number of 1.2-liter and 2.0-liter diesel cars repaired has more than doubled within several weeks from 500,000 previously. The refitted cars include models from VW brand, Audi, Skoda, Seat and VW commercial vehicles, he said.
Some 5.6 million vehicles have so far been cleared for repair by Germany's motor vehicle authority KBA. Approval by the KBA is valid for countries throughout Europe where 8.5 million diesel cars are affected by VW's emissions test-cheating scandal. About 11 million cars are implicated globally.
VW Group models with 1.2-liter and 2.0-liter engines only require a software update on pollution control systems, whereas about 3 million 1.6-liter engines, besides the software update, also require a mesh to be installed near the air filter.
Consumer groups and politicians in Germany have been angered by VW's refusal to offer compensation in Europe, noting that drivers are stymied in many EU nations by their inability to file U.S.-style class action lawsuits.