Two Virginia Volkswagen dealerships, which were among 13 dealers charged nation-wide by the Justice Department of allegedly tampering with pollution control equipment on 1975 and 1976 model Rabbits and Sciroccos, have settled their cases out of court.
Stohlman Volkswagen-Subaru at Tysons Corner agreed last week to pay the government $3,000 within 30 days and Ray Burnette Volkswagen of Alexandria agreed last month to pay $4,500. Neither company admitted any wrongdoing or legal finding as part of the consent decrees they signed.
Ray Burnette Volkswagen was charged last May with three violations of the Clean Air Act and Stohlman was charged with two violations. The maximum penalty for each count is $10,000.
One charge against Montgomery County Cars of Rockville is still pending, according to a government official.
The dealers were charged with removing catalytic material from catalytic converters, which reduce pollution, and failing to make engine modifications on Volkswagens so that they would meet pollution control standards.
Volkswagen of America, the German automaker's U.S. distributor, agreed with the Environmental Protection Agency in 1976 to pay its dealers to fix pollution controls on up to 195,000 cars by removing catalytic converters and making engine modifications, according to the EPA. Customer complaints led EPA to discover the catalytic converters in several instances were removed but the engine modifications were not made.
Volkswagen had asked to modify the catalytic converters because the 1975 and 1976 Rabbits and Scirrocos had a high rate of converter failure when they were new, the EPA said.
A government official said two other cases, one in Pittsburg and the other in Philadelphia, have each been settled out of court for $1,500.
In another case involving pollution control devices, an EPA suit charging Joe Heishman Porsche-Aude of Arlington with tampering with an emision control device on a 1974 Audi was dismissed last week by the U.S. District Judge Albert V. Bryant Jr.
Bryan ruled that the dealer had inadvertantly and not intentionally released the car to its owner before an exhaust gas recirculation tube, disconnected for testing had been replaced. Yankee states ever do get together long enough to work out the daily lot