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VW emissions scandal: Audi and Seat deny CO2 cover-up

The VW Group has denied it has tried to cover up CO2 emissions changes of up to 10g/km onAudiandSeatmodels, following an investigation by Autocar.

Data released in December revealed that numerous Audi and Seat petrol and diesel models have had their official CO2 figures revised upwards since the parentVWGroup issued a statement claiming that investigations had "largely concluded”.

The statement, made on 9 December,identified nine VW branded vehiclesas having figures that would need to be re-evaluated. At the same time the original estimate of 800,000 VW Group cars being affected by wrong CO2 figures was downgraded to just 36,000.

After identifying that "during internal remeasurements slight deviations were found on just nine model variants of the Volkswagen brand” the statement concluded that "the Group's subsidiaries Audi, Skoda and Seat have also agreed a similar procedure with the approval authorities responsible for the vehicles initially considered.”

Comment - So what has the VW Group done this time?

However, despite there being no formal public announcement from the VW Group or the individual Audi and Seat brands, Autocar has learned that Seat raised CO2 emissions figures for 26 Ibiza and Leon derivatives just days after the original statement in mid-December, and that Audi followed suit just prior to Christmas, raising figures on six Audi A1 derivatives. Since then, it has been revealed that four A4 and eight Q3 models are also affected.

The revisions were described by a spokesman as being uncovered as part of "normal conformity disciplines”, while Seat and Audi spokesmen highlighted that all of the changes were published in data lists as usual and communicated to both fleet managers and owners of the cars who had placed orders prior to the revisions.

Insiders also suggest that further amendments could be in the offing. Skoda has confirmed to Autocar that none of its models are affected. Meanwhile, however, VW has downgraded its forecast of nine vehicles requiring reassessment to six.

A VW Group spokesman said: "Conformity of Production testing is a regular and ongoing process, and such updates are us doing our business as usual. The changes were made public through the normal channels."

However, Autocar understands that while it is normal practice for cars to be regularly retested, especially as initial figures are often certified on pre-production cars, it is highly unusual for so many figures to be revised upwards, and to such an extent. In contrast, one industry insider told Autocar that it is more common for figures to be revised downwards, as build quality and parts tolerances improve further into a car’s build cycle.

A VW Group spokesman said: "When determining fuel consumption levels it is a normal process after the start of production for all manufacturers to verify the figure ascertained in the initial measurement using a factory-new production vehicle. This is done as part of the legally required follow-up measurements.

"Occasionally it can happen that pursuant to the follow-up measurements the fuel consumption figures then be corrected. This is done in accordance with the prevailing statutory regulations and in consultation with the type approval authority.”

In a separate statement, Audi AG said: "The CO2 emissions issue was related to irregularities in determining the CO2 figures for type approval.The situation with the A1 is a separate matter and part of a normal process with the relevant authorities.Throughout the year the CO2 emissions of our vehicles are regularly checked because small changes do occur in terms of production processes, equipment levels, etc.

"When these changes create a subsequent change in the CO2 emission levels of a vehicle, this is discussed with the relevant authorities and a new official figure is determined which becomes the new official figure for the brochure."

Current owners of affected cars are protected from any vehicle tax or benefit in kind (BIK) rises as a result of the changes, because their cars were legally certified at the original levels. However, many will be shocked by reduced official fuel consumption figures of up to 5.3mpg.

As well as raising questions as to why the Audi and Seat revisions were not publicised in the same way as the VW figures, the changes are likely to raise calls for owners who bought the cars based on the original figures to be compensated. While the real-world performance figures will not be affected, customers who bought the cars based on the now downgraded fuel consumption figures could seek recompense.

A spokesman declined to comment about current owners, but said that any retail customers with a car on order would be offered the option of changing or cancelling their order, while any fleet customers would receive a "financial gesture" to reflect the changed tax burden.

Full list of affected Audi and Seat models:

Audi A1 (three-door and Sportback)

SE 1.6 TDI Was 92g/km and 80.7mpg (revised to 97g/km and 76.3mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

SE 1.6 TDI Auto 97g/km and 76.3mpg (revised to 99g/km and 74.3mpg, VED +£0, BIK +0%)

S line 1.6 TDI 93g/km and 80.7mpg (revised to 98g/km and 76.3mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

S line 1.6 TDI Auto 98g/km and 80.7mpg (revised to 101g/km and 76.3mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

Black Edition 1.6 TDI 97g/km and 76.3mpg (revised to 102g/km and 72.4mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

Black Edition 1.6 TDI Auto 103g/km and 72.4mpg (revised to 106g/km and 70.6mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

Audi A4 (saloon and avant)

3.0 V6 TDI quattro Sport saloon115g/km and 64.2mpg (revised to 119g/km and 61.4mpg, VED +£0, BIK +0%)

3.0 V6 TDI quattro S line saloon119g/km and 61.4mpg (revised to 123g/km and 60.1mpg, VED +£80, BIK +1%)

3.0 V6 TDI quatto Sport Avant119g/kmand 61.4mpg(revised to 123g/km and 60.1mpg, VED +£80, BIK +1%)

3.0 V6 TDI quattro S line Avant122g/km and 60.1mpg (revised to 126g/km and 58.9mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

Audi Q3 - on optional alloy wheels (C1J)

1.4 TFSI CoD 150 manual131g/km (revised to 134g/km and 48.7mpg, VED +£0, BIK +0%)

1.4 TFSI CoD 150 S tronic138g/km (revised to 143g/km and 48.7mpg, VED +£15, BIK +1%)

2.0 TFSI 180 quattro S tronic155g/km (revised to 161g/km and 40.4mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

2.0 TDI 150 manual119g/km (revised to 124g/km and 58.9mpg, VED +£80, BIK +1%)

2.0 TDI 150 quattro manual132g/km (revised to 138g/km and 52.3mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

2.0 TDI 150 quattro S tronic133g/km (revised to 140g/km and 52.3mpg, VED +£0, BIK +2%)

2.0 TDI 150 quattro manual184g/km (revised to 146g/km and 52.3mpg, VED +£15, BIK +1%)

2.0 TDI 150 quattro S tronic184g/km (revised to 144g/km and 52.3mpg, VED +£15, BIK +1%)

Seat Leon SC

SE 1.6 TDI 99g/km and 74.3mpg (revised to 102g/km and 70.6mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

SE 1.6 TDI Auto 99g/km and 74.3mpg (revised to 101g/km and 72.4mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

FR 1.4 Eco TSI 110g/km and 60.1mpg (revised to 114g/km and 57.6mpg, VED +£10, BIK +1%)

FR 1.4 Eco TSI Auto 109g/km and 60.1mpg (revised to 115g/km and 57.6mpg, VED +£10, BIK +2%)

FR 1.8 Eco TSI Auto 129g/km and 49.6mpg (revised to 134g/km and 48.7mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

FR 2.0 TDI 150 108g/km and 67.3mpg (revised to 112g/km and 64.2mpg, VED +£10, BIK +1%)

FR 2.0 TDI 184 113g/km and 65.7mpg (revised to 118g/km and 62.8mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

Seat Leon 5-door

S/SE 1.6 TDI 99g/km and 74.3mpg (revised to 102g/km and 70.6mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

SE 1.6 TDI Auto 99g/km and 74.3mpg (revised to 101g/km and 72.4mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

SE 1.6 TDI Ecomotive 89g/km and 83.1mpg (revised to 94g/km and 78.5mpg, VED +£0, BIK +0%)

SE 2.0 TDI 106g/km and 68.9mpg (revised to 110g/km and 65.7mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

FR 1.4 Eco TSI 110g/km and 60.1mpg (revised to 114g/km and 57.6mpg, VED +£10, BIK +1%)

FR 1.4 EcoTSI Auto109g/km and 60.1mpg (revised to 115g/km and 57.6mpg, VED +£10, BIK +2%)

FR 1.8 EcoTSI Auto129g/km and 49.6mpg (revised to 134g/km and 48.7mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

FR 2.0 TDI108g/km and 67.3mpg (revised to 112g/km and 64.2mpg, VED +£10, BIK +1%)

FR 2.0 TDI113g/km and 65.7mpg (revised to 118g/km and 62.8mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

Seat Leon ST

S/SE1.6 TDI102g/km and 72.4mpg (revised to 105g/km and 68.9mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

SE 1.6 TDI Auto102g/km and 72.4mpg (revised to 104g/km and 70.6mpg, VED +£10, BIK +0%)

SE 1.6 TDI Ecomotive89g/km and 83.1mpg (revised to 94g/km and 78.5mpg, VED +£0, BIK +0%)

SE 2.0 TDI 106g/km and 68.9mpg (revised to 110g/km and 65.7mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

FR 1.4 Eco TSI 110g/km and 60.1mpg (revised to 114g/km and 57.6mpg, VED +£10, BIK +1%)

FR 1.4 Eco TSI Auto 111g/km and 58.9mpg (revised to 117g/km and 56.5mpg, VED +£0, BIK +1%)

FR 1.8 Eco TSI Auto 129g/km and 49.6mpg (revised to 134g/km and 48.7mpg, VED +£20, BIK +1%)

FR 2.0 TDI 108g/km and 67.3mpg (revised to 112g/km and 64.2mpg, VED +£10, BIK +1%)

FR 2.0 TDI 116g/km and 62.8mpg (revised to 121g/km and 61.4mpg, VED +£80, BIK +1%)

Seat Leon X-Perience

SE Technology 2.0 TDI Auto 129g/km and 57.6mpg (revised to 139g/km and 52.3mpg, VED +£20, BIK +2%)