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Volkswagen may miss latest diesel deadline

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Over six months after it was first revealed that Volkswagen used illegal software to cheat on emissions tests, the German carmaker still hasn’t come up with a fix for the nearly 600,000 non-compliant diesel cars in the U.S., even with increasing government pressure.

After VW missed a March 24 deadline set by U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer, the company was given until April 21 to come up with a plan to address its diesel cars’ excess emissions. But Volkswagen may miss that deadline too, a government official indicated to Reuters.

VW and regulators are in “really robust” talks, but may not agree on a fix before the April 21, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. Judge Breyer is calling for a “concrete proposal” from Volkswagen by then that satisfies regulators. If that doesn’t occur, Breyer said he would consider holding a trial this summer.

In March, a California official said the state may accept a partial fix that doesn’t cover all cars, or one that reduces emissions by a smaller amount, because getting all cars compliant may be impossible. Any VW recall plan will have to be approved by both the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the EPA. McCarthy would not comment on whether her agency is considering that possibility.

CARB and the EPA rejected a plan for the 482,000 cars equipped with 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines submitted by Volkswagen in November, citing its lack of detail. A plan for the 85,000 cars equipped with 3.0-liter V6 engines was submitted in February, but is still under review by the two agencies.

VW also faces issues in Europe, despite the less-stringent emissions standards there. It began a diesel recall in its home country of Germany in January, but that recall was recently halted. Reports claim German regulators found that the proposed fix lowered fuel economy, but Volkswagen claims it was because regulators decided to perform additional checks.

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