Volkswagen (VW) has suggested that only half of its core models are compliant with new pollution standards brought in as part of the WLTP emissions tests.
On 1 September, all new vehicles sold in Europe have had to comply with WLTP, which includes a real-world test alongside the standard laboratory-based emissions checks for the first time. Manufacturers have to ensure that emissions limits are within a tolerance of 2.1 times previous test figures, until 2021 when this standard becomes stricter still.
In order to achieve this, some manufacturers have been pausing production of vehicles while they re-engineer them, adding petrol particulate filters (PPF) and new engine maps to ensure emission of particulate matter meets the new criteria.
Also, the need for every possible variant of a vehicle with optional extras to be tested means the timeframe for emissions checks are much more than under previous NEDC laboratory-only requirements.
‘The new tests are more cumbersome and take two to three times longer than in the past, even limited-edition models need to be tested separately,’ VW's head of sales and marketing Thomas Zahn said in a call with journalists. ‘The coming months will be challenging for us.’
Surprisingly, Zhan confirmed that VW’s top-selling Golf model was one of those that are still waiting to be cleared by authorities, suggesting that it will take until the end of September before the medium hatchback, one of the bestselling vehicles on the European market, would be available for sale under the new WLTP regulations.
Only seven of the German manufacturer’s 14-strong model line-up are compliant with WLTP. Therefore, shipment of vehicles are expected to slow down in September and October but will pick up again in the final two months of the year, with Zhan suggesting that December will be a strong month for the brand.
Some manufacturers have raised concerns about their readiness for WLTP, which was introduced for all new models undergoing type approval from 1 September 2017.
Daimler and Valeo, along with VW, have cut profit expectations for their Q3 results, all suggesting that the cost implications of ensuring fleets are ready will hit them. Valeo has said that manufacturers suspending or slowing down production will hit their supply chain and affect their finances in the three months from July to September 2018.
Volkswagen has been vocal in the issues raised by the new procedure, in particular how it would have to slow production until such a time that all models are delivered.
However, PSA Group recently announced that it was ready for WLTP with all models certified, while Ford has said that its core vehicles have been ready for some time, with new iterations of the Fiesta and Focus having gone through the emissions testing at the type approval stage.