VOLKSWAGEN says that a plastic device costing less than £1 is required to fix hundreds of thousands of British cars caught up in the emissions scandal.
Around 1.2m diesel cars in Britain are among 11m worldwide that contain so-called defeat devices, enabling them to detect when they are undergoing official tests and cut emissions of nitrogen oxides to within legal limits. They include vehicles made by Audi, Seat and Skoda, which are part of the Volkswagen Group.
Last week Volkswagen revealed modifications that it plans to carry out when it recalls the cars from early next year. Affected vehicles with 1.6-litre or 2-litre diesel engines will have a software update.
Around 400,000 cars with the rogue 1.6-litre engine will also be fitted with a device called a flow transformer. The plastic widget will alter the airflow over a sensor, which Volkswagen says will bring emissions in line with legal limits.
Analysts say that the device will cost a trivial amount. “This is a really negligible, non-technical component, so [it will cost] just a few pounds — it could even be pence,” said Paul Newton from the analysts IHS Automotive.
Volkswagen has set aside €6.7bn to cover the costs of its diesel recall, but it now hopes that the cost of the fix will be lower than that. It said it could not confirm the price of the flow transformer because it was currently inviting tenders from manufacturers who could make the part. A further fix for affected cars with 1.2-litre diesel engines is due to be announced shortly.