Volkswagen has lost its "Green Car of the Year" prize for two models that employed technology at the heart of German giant's pollution-cheating scandal, US prize organizers said Wednesday.
Green Car Journal announced it was rescinding the 2009 prize for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and the 2010 prize for the Audi A3 TDI in the wake of Volkswagen's acknowledgement that it intentionally deceived government regulators overseeing air emissions rules.
"These models were selected as Green Car of the Year above others for compelling reasons, including high fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, a fun-to-drive nature, and the ability to meet 50 state emissions requirements with advanced diesel technology," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal.
Rescinding the awards is "unfortunate but appropriate," he said in announcing the first such action in the 10-year-old award program.
Both Audi and Volkswagen agreed with the decision, according to a Green Car Journal statement.
"Audi has won hundreds of races and thousands of awards throughout its history," said Audi of America President Scott Keogh.
"But we only want to win fair and square. Therefore, in light of recent developments, we believe the only right thing to do is to return this important recognition of environmental stewardship."
Volkswagen has been under fire since US environmental regulators announced on September 18 that the company had violated air-quality rules by installing software on nearly 500,000 diesel cars intended to evade US emissions limits for nitrogen oxide and other dangerous pollutants.
Volkswagen, the world's biggest carmaker by sales, has admitted that up to 11 million diesel cars worldwide are fitted with so-called "cheat devices" that can switch on pollution controls when they detect the car is undergoing testing.
VW faces up to $18 billion in fines from the US Environmental Protection Agency over the fraud, and a growing number of lawsuits.