The diesel engines found in Volkswagen products since the 2015 model year are not the Type EA189 TDIs that admittedly have the emission cheating software installed, but VW still can’t sell you the newer Type EA288 TDI engines in 2015 and 2016 model year cars either. Why? We’re not sure yet.

The EA189, otherwise known as the Gen 1 2.0 TDI, hit the US market in 2009. It made its way into the Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Golf, Beetle and the Audi A3 TDI as well. The global range of applications is much wider, from Seat Leons to Jeep Patriots, but since the Euro 5 compliant EA189 has only failed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards so far, let’s just stay on the American side for now.

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Volkswagen upgraded this engine to Gen 2 with an improved turbo, balancing shafts and selective catalytic reduction technology before jamming it into the Passat in 2012. But after selling 488,123 ‘Clean Diesel’ cars in five years, the EA189 got replaced by the EA288 for the 2015 model year.


The two engines have nothing in common apart from their cylinder bore center dimension. The new engine wasn’t just more powerful and responsive, but also came with the AdBlue urea injection system just like the rest of the competition to lower those NOx levels Volkswagen made the EA189 fake during the EPA tests.

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Even though the EA288 is claimed by VW to produce “up to 40 percent lower emissions”, dealers were ordered to stop selling the 2015 and 2016 cars that had them immediately, which will cost them dearly as four-cylinder TDIs account for 20 to 25 percent of VW’s U.S. sales. Or at least they used to.

And today we found out from The Detroit News that the EPA is investigating other diesel engines from the VW family, in particular the 3.0-liter V6, which also had an AdBlue system:

Whether these newer engine families are rigged as well, or if regulators are shutting down sales until they conclude their investigations, remains to be seen.

Photo credit: Volkswagen

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