Automobilwoche reports that the KBA, Germany's motor vehicle regulator, has already revoked the registrations of several Audi and VW cars without the fix in Hamburg and Munich following repeated warnings to the drivers, because the cars were still emitting more NOx than was originally declared.
The fix is mandatory in Germany because the authorities declared it a safety recall, whereas in the UK it was labelled a 'service action’. The KBA told Automobilwoche: "The recall is compulsory. Cars that are not fixed can eventually be taken out of service. Subject to the release date of the updates, the car owner has had about a year and a half. Plenty of time to take part in the recall."
The deregistrations are therefore not completely unexpected. Similar deregistrations are unlikely to happen in the UK because the fix was not declared a safety issue here.
As of June, 95% of the total 2.46 million affected German cars had had the fix applied. Of the remaining cars, 0.6% are being referred to their local authorities after several warnings, and this can eventually lead to registrations being revoked.
Owners across Europe are sceptical of the fix after claims that the software update can cause cars to become less fuel efficient and lead to faults that trigger 'limp home' mode.
An Autocar investigation carried out on a 1.6-litre diesel VW Touran found that, despite NOx emissions reducing by almost half after the fix, the car returned poorer fuel economy and emitted 6.5% more CO2.
VW continues to claim that the fix has no adverse effect on cars’ reliability, emissions or fuel economy, backed up by verification from the KBA.
Deregistrations will commence depending on when the owners were issued with the recall notice; this means that some owners’ cars could be deregistered next month.
According to a VW spokesman, the fix is not expected to reach a 100% rate, due to some affected cars having been written off or being untraceable by the government, but the rate is climbing.