VOLKSWAGEN SCANDAL

Seat may have installed over 500,000 altered diesel engines into its cars

Spanish subsidiary of Volkswagen braces for fallout from emissions-test scandal Company says its vehicles are no longer sold with the affected motors

Barcelona / Madrid -
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (second from left) at Seat's Martorell plant in early September.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (second from left) at Seat's Martorell plant in early September.Albert Garcia

The fallout from the Volkswagen emission-test cheating scandal is reaching Spanish automaker Seat.

The Spanish subsidiary of the German group has installed over half a million of the tampered diesel engines into its vehicles since 2009, according to sources with ties to the company.

In an email to EL PAÍS, Seat admitted to having “equipped some vehicles with the Volkswagen Group’s EA189 engines,” but would neither confirm nor deny this figure.

Industry experts said there could be between 250,000 and 300,000 vehicles with the tampered engines circulating on Spanish streets

Instead, Seat executives are sticking to the global number admitted by headquarters: 11 million cars affected worldwide.

The diesel engines used by the Spanish automaker are in theory the same ones used by Volkswagen and Audi in the United States, where an investigation is underway into secret software that temporarily altered engine performance during regulators’ tests in order to comply with environmental standards.

These altered engines were made by VW at specialized plants and sold to its various units. Seat’s plant in Martorell (Barcelona) allegedly installed them in vehicles that were on sale until this year.

In the email to EL PAÍS, Seat underscored that models currently on sale are no longer equipped with these engines.

“All new vehicles sold by Seat in the European Union and equipped with EU 6 engines comply, without any exceptions, with all legal requirements and environmental regulations,” says the message.

Seat, which turned an operating profit in the first quarter of the year – the first time since 2008 – is afraid that the VW crisis will affect its own sales.

Last year, Seat sold 378,586 vehicles. Over the last six years, sales reached around two million vehicles, including those with both gasoline and diesel engines. Around 17 percent of units are sold in Spain, making it the second-most-popular car brand in the country – right after VW.

Industry experts said there could be between 250,000 and 300,000 vehicles with the tampered engines circulating on Spanish streets.

English version by Susana Urra.

Rules
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS