Volkswagen says 800,000 European cars have false CO2 emissions levels too | Ars Technica

“VW is reporting that around 800,000 cars, mostly with 1.4-litre diesel engines, may have an issue with their carbon dioxide emissions as well. The two main cars affected are the VW Polo and Golf, but some cars from the Audi, Seat, and Skoda brands are also included. VW says that some 1.4-litre petrol engines may also be affected”

When the scandal first broke, I was worried, because I have a diesel Seat Ibiza (Seat is owned by VW). But then VW put up a website where you could check your VIN to find if your car was affected by the cheating software, and mine was in the clear. It turned out that the 1.4-liter engines, such as my car contains, weren’t affected.

Well, now we know that Volkswagen has probably cheated with every car they have sold; not just with nitrous oxide levels, but also with CO2 levels.

I wonder what effect this is going to have on my car, and my wallet. I don’t think the government here in the UK will make car-owners pay a higher road tax; the tax is based on CO2 levels, and we bought the car with the understanding that its level was as announced by the manufacturer. But I have a feeling that VW is going to have to compensate car owners, since this means the car is burning much more fuel than it should.

Liars, cheaters, and scumbags.

Source: Volkswagen says 800,000 European cars have false CO2 emissions levels too | Ars Technica

16 thoughts on “Volkswagen says 800,000 European cars have false CO2 emissions levels too | Ars Technica

  1. There’s a danger that unless VW recall and adjust each affected vehicle, governments may decide to place an higher emissions taxes on second-hand buyers down the line, because they were not duped by VW.

    If that happens, it will destroy the resale value of affected cars. It would be better business for VW to recall all affected models and constrain emissions properly, otherwise there will be many many people who will never buy a VW (or associated) vehicle ever again.

    • Yes, that’s what I’d expect. Already, the resale value of any VW has dropped because of the hit to the company’s reputation. We bought our Seat used, so I’m not worried about that, but it is possible that the government will raise taxes at some point. I think it would be unfair to raise them on current owners, but on a resale, that would actually be logical.

      I note in the article that VW has put aside far more money per vehicle for the CO2 issue than the NOX issue. This suggests that the fixes are more expensive.

      One other thing I worry about. Here in the UK, you have to have your car inspected each year. What if the car fails the emissions test because of this issue? We could be without a car, unless we’re willing to pay the cost to fix it. I don’t know if that could happen, whether it’s just a software cheat in test mode, but it is a bit worrisome. You can have your car taken off the road if it doesn’t meet emissions standards.

      • That annual test is very concerning indeed. I would have expected governments to issue letters to affected owners reassuring them, if they were working with VW on giving them time to execute recalls.

        It might be worth an hour of legal fees to consult a lawyer on where you stand with regard to either suing VW yourself, or indeed joining a class action suit should you end up without a car as a result of their fraud.

        If I were the relevant authorities, I’d be moving very quickly to inform affected owners that they were either exempt from emissions tests for a time, or would need to consider their options.

  2. There’s a danger that unless VW recall and adjust each affected vehicle, governments may decide to place an higher emissions taxes on second-hand buyers down the line, because they were not duped by VW.

    If that happens, it will destroy the resale value of affected cars. It would be better business for VW to recall all affected models and constrain emissions properly, otherwise there will be many many people who will never buy a VW (or associated) vehicle ever again.

    • Yes, that’s what I’d expect. Already, the resale value of any VW has dropped because of the hit to the company’s reputation. We bought our Seat used, so I’m not worried about that, but it is possible that the government will raise taxes at some point. I think it would be unfair to raise them on current owners, but on a resale, that would actually be logical.

      I note in the article that VW has put aside far more money per vehicle for the CO2 issue than the NOX issue. This suggests that the fixes are more expensive.

      One other thing I worry about. Here in the UK, you have to have your car inspected each year. What if the car fails the emissions test because of this issue? We could be without a car, unless we’re willing to pay the cost to fix it. I don’t know if that could happen, whether it’s just a software cheat in test mode, but it is a bit worrisome. You can have your car taken off the road if it doesn’t meet emissions standards.

      • That annual test is very concerning indeed. I would have expected governments to issue letters to affected owners reassuring them, if they were working with VW on giving them time to execute recalls.

        It might be worth an hour of legal fees to consult a lawyer on where you stand with regard to either suing VW yourself, or indeed joining a class action suit should you end up without a car as a result of their fraud.

        If I were the relevant authorities, I’d be moving very quickly to inform affected owners that they were either exempt from emissions tests for a time, or would need to consider their options.

  3. This situation is certainly horrible, and Volkswagen is horribly guilty. But I am mystified by the assumptions in most articles, that Volkswagen is the only company to have ever done this, and that all the other tests are reliable. We know that GM was comfortable selling cars for a decade, with a defect they knew about, which killed more than 200 people. Ford, Jaguar, Fiat, and many other companies have had similar scandals over postponing safety related recalls. Emissions issues haven’t gotten as much press, but there have been plenty of cases previously, with discrepancies between the cleanliness of the factory testing figures, and those verified eventually by other testing.

    Maybe Volkswagen has been the only company this clever in their evilness, but maybe they are just the first to get caught in this particular kind of cheating. The foundational problem applies to every company and most industries. Critical regulation data is provided only by the manufacturers, and there isn’t sufficient independent testing and verification. Unless we fix that problem, issues like Volkswagen’s cheating will only get worse, and harder to discover.

  4. This situation is certainly horrible, and Volkswagen is horribly guilty. But I am mystified by the assumptions in most articles, that Volkswagen is the only company to have ever done this, and that all the other tests are reliable. We know that GM was comfortable selling cars for a decade, with a defect they knew about, which killed more than 200 people. Ford, Jaguar, Fiat, and many other companies have had similar scandals over postponing safety related recalls. Emissions issues haven’t gotten as much press, but there have been plenty of cases previously, with discrepancies between the cleanliness of the factory testing figures, and those verified eventually by other testing.

    Maybe Volkswagen has been the only company this clever in their evilness, but maybe they are just the first to get caught in this particular kind of cheating. The foundational problem applies to every company and most industries. Critical regulation data is provided only by the manufacturers, and there isn’t sufficient independent testing and verification. Unless we fix that problem, issues like Volkswagen’s cheating will only get worse, and harder to discover.

  5. I totally agree. As you say, the GM thing was unconscionable, and it should have sent some people to prison. I’m sure other companies are doing the same thing. I think, however, that VW got caught because they were trying to heavily market their diesel engines in the US as “clean diesel,” in order to try and get some update in diesel sales in that market. Diesels are a very large share of car sales in Europe, and VW wanted to try and change the numbers in the US.

    • A sobering aspect of the issue is that Volkswagen got away with this trick for seven model years, and nearly eight years of sales. GM escaped sanctions for a decade. That great length of time between beginning of sales and detection of the problem will probably convince many car companies that the chances that they can get away with cheating are pretty good, at least for short-term cheating.

      We still don’t know the real pollution numbers for the Volkswagen products, as they were sold and used for the last seven years, nor as they will be after modification. And when we finally get more definitive numbers, we won’t have much confidence in comparing them to the numbers from other car companies, unless and until those companies products are subjected to very rigorous testing. We don’t know what the repairs will cost, and how they will change the performance of the cars. The estimates and predictions that I have seen suggest that mileage (what terms do you use in Europe?) will probably not change too much, but acceleration will suffer. We will see.

      • Here in the UK, they use mileage, but it’s an imperial gallon, so the MPG numbers are higher than in the US. In France, they use the number of liters of gas/diesel fuel you use per 100 km. Weird, right? So you can have, say, 4l per 100km as a way of measuring mileage. Not sure about other countries.

  6. I totally agree. As you say, the GM thing was unconscionable, and it should have sent some people to prison. I’m sure other companies are doing the same thing. I think, however, that VW got caught because they were trying to heavily market their diesel engines in the US as “clean diesel,” in order to try and get some update in diesel sales in that market. Diesels are a very large share of car sales in Europe, and VW wanted to try and change the numbers in the US.

    • A sobering aspect of the issue is that Volkswagen got away with this trick for seven model years, and nearly eight years of sales. GM escaped sanctions for a decade. That great length of time between beginning of sales and detection of the problem will probably convince many car companies that the chances that they can get away with cheating are pretty good, at least for short-term cheating.

      We still don’t know the real pollution numbers for the Volkswagen products, as they were sold and used for the last seven years, nor as they will be after modification. And when we finally get more definitive numbers, we won’t have much confidence in comparing them to the numbers from other car companies, unless and until those companies products are subjected to very rigorous testing. We don’t know what the repairs will cost, and how they will change the performance of the cars. The estimates and predictions that I have seen suggest that mileage (what terms do you use in Europe?) will probably not change too much, but acceleration will suffer. We will see.

      • Here in the UK, they use mileage, but it’s an imperial gallon, so the MPG numbers are higher than in the US. In France, they use the number of liters of gas/diesel fuel you use per 100 km. Weird, right? So you can have, say, 4l per 100km as a way of measuring mileage. Not sure about other countries.

  7. Merkel is talking with Putin about the issues with Syria: three days later there’s the Diesel scam. Let’s be clear about Germany: politics and industry are in the same bed. Just Germany? ?

  8. Merkel is talking with Putin about the issues with Syria: three days later there’s the Diesel scam. Let’s be clear about Germany: politics and industry are in the same bed. Just Germany? ?

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