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Over 2 million diesel Audi TDI cars have illegal software that reduces emissions during testing. Now, dozens of class action lawsuits accuse auto-makers of lying to consumers by marketing the “Clean Diesel” cars as environmentally friendly.

What Audis are Affected?

About 2.1 million Audi TDI® “Clean Diesel” cars have software for manipulating emissions test results, including:

  • A1
  • A3
  • A4
  • A5
  • A6
  • TT
  • Q3
  • Q5

What is the problem?

In September 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused VW of illegally using software in its diesel engines that lowered emissions during testing but not while the cars were on the road.

The owner of a 2010 Audi has filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles. Nationwide, dozens of class action lawsuits accuse VW of marketing the cars as “environmentally friendly” when they were actually emitting up to 40X the amount of pollutants allowed under the Clean Air Act.

The vehicles emit high levels of nitrogen oxide, a toxic gas linked to serious respiratory problems, including asthma and emphysema.

Even so, it is likely that many owners will ignore the recall. Fixing the cars by simply updating the software might noticeably reduce performance and fuel-efficiency. Fixing the cars by retrofitting the exhaust system would cost thousands of dollars per vehicle.

Audi Says 2.1 Million Cars Had Software to Cheat Emissions

Volkswagen (VW) admits that about 11 millions vehicles worldwide are affected, including about 2.1 million Audis. Nearly all of the Audis are located in Europe, where diesel cars are more popular. In the U.S., nearly 13,000 Audis are affected.

How Was the Problem Discovered?

State and federal officials got a tip about the “defeat device” software from researchers at West Virginia University, who were contracted by a non-government organization that was concerned about emissions levels.

After officials confirmed that there were discrepancies between emissions on the road and during testing, VW issued customers an “emissions service action” in April 2015, according to Reuters.

According to Dave Clegern, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board (CARB), “This is one of the fixes they presented to us as a potential solution. It didn’t work.”

It wasn’t until September 2015 that VW admitted intentionally deceiving officials about how much toxic gas the cars were emitting. The U.S Department of Justice has now launched a criminal probe.