Volkswagen may face a significant challenge in getting nearly 500,000 diesel-powered cars in the U.S. into emissions compliance.
The ideal fix would be a solution that reduces the on-road emission of nitrogen oxides without:
- Degrading performance or fuel economy. A reduction of either would likely trigger even more class-action lawsuits from disgruntled Volkswagen owners.
- Adding significant equipment the vehicles weren't designed for, such as a selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, system. Doing so would require major surgery on each vehicle to install the parts, and it would open up a host of other issues, such as crashworthiness of the new parts.
- Taking too long to implement the fix. Before his ouster last week, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said the company is working on a fix. A recall in December to update engine software was not successful. This suggests VW may not be ready with a solution that would stand up to heavy scrutiny from regulators and consumers.