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Volkswagen and Audi diesel sales stopped in Australia

Sales of VW, Audi and Skoda diesel cars stopped in Australia as part of global scandal

The VW diesel scandal has now reached Australian showrooms, with 10 models now banned from sale effectively immediately.

In an unprecedented move, car giant Volkswagen has been forced to withdraw from sale its brand new diesel passenger cars across the VW, Audi and Skoda brands in Australia, effective immediately.

The decision follows a meeting in Canberra on Friday between representatives of Volkswagen and Audi Australia with Federal Government authorities, including the ACCC and the Department of Infrastructure, which handles vehicle approvals.

The stop on sales follows bans from showrooms in the US, Canada and Switzerland, following VW's admission two weeks ago it used software to cheat diesel emissions tests on 11 million cars globally, made from 2009 to 2015.

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The 10 models withdrawn from sale include diesel versions of the Tiguan SUV, Passat sedan and wagon, Audi A4 sedan and wagon, Audi A5 coupe, Audi Q5 2.0 TDI SUV and the Skoda Yeti SUV and Skoda Superb sedan and wagon.

These models combined account for approximately 10 per cent of the sales volume across the three brands.

A statement from VW said: “Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) met with the relevant government authorities yesterday to advise them of its strategy in Australia to address concerns that have been raised around the world regarding the diesel emissions issue.

“In its first step, effective immediately VGA has temporarily suspended the sale of affected vehicles fitted with 1.6 or 2.0-litre EA189 diesel engines. The suspension will remain until the emission issues are addressed in those vehicles.”

Executives from Volkswagen and Audi in Australia -- who are still banned by their German headquarters from talking to local media -- say it will make further announcements next week.

On Friday News Corp Australia reported that Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda could be fined $108,000 per car on Australian roads -- approximately 70,000 vehicles -- if they were found to have been approved based on false claims.

Furthermore, the ACCC says it can fine VW and Audi $1.1 million per misleading claim on each car.

For example, a false fuel economy claim on one car can attract a $1.1 million fine, while the emissions claim for the exact same vehicle may attract an additional $1.1 million penalty.

With 10 models potentially affected, the fines could total up to $22 million for misleading claims alone.

Australian owners of affected cars are still in the dark as Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda are yet to issue a recall locally.

If a recall occurs, owners will likely need to return their vehicles to the dealership to have their diesel engine computer updated with new software, although other countries are having their diesel engines "refitted", which may involve new mechanical parts or a complete replacement.

The cars affected

Jetta sedan
Passat sedan and wagon
Passat CC sedan
Caddy van

A4 sedan and wagon
A5 coupe
Q5 2.0TDI

Yeti SUV
Superb sedan and wagon