Life at Volkswagen just got a little more uncomfortable. If high ranking executives thought the German state would publicly denounce the emissions cheating scandal while high-fiving behind closed doors then they can forget about it.
Volkswagen has been ordered by Germany’s emissions regulator, KBA, to issue a recall in its home market. KBA rejected Volkswagen’s proposal suggesting consumers with affected cars, fitted with the so called “defeat device”, Should voluntarily visit dealerships for an authorised repair. As a result of this ruling 2.4 million cars in Germany will be recalled.
Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (VAG) has already set aside €6.5 billion in order to deal with the major dieselgate uproar and its 11 million affected cars, but what does this mean for both VAG and us, the consumer?
The Bosch-developed defeat device was used in the EA 189 EU5-compliant diesel engines. This means the gadget activates under test conditions and temporarily cuts fuel emission figures so they do not reflect those of the real world – this explains how it has not been picked up in MOT tests.
Cars fitted with the software are perfectly safe to drive and do not cause any reason for concern, therefore they can continue to be driven. Despite this, it is thought that in the long run VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat could recall affected vehicles for an engine re-map or a software update.
Audi has a Germany-only website where owners can input their car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to check whether the engine implies the manipulative apparatus. It’ll be a worldwide feature in the coming weeks. Good news (well, let’s step back and look at the situation, it’s not great news!) if you own a Volkswagen, their VIN checker is up and running at http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/owners/dieselinfo .
It’s important to note that V6 and V8 TDI engines are not part of the scandal, and as a result VAG-owned Porsche has come out unscathed. The recent EU6-compliant engines are free from cheating devices too.
Over the pond, VW USA has removed most TDI (diesel) engines from its website hinting that the repair time could be a lot longer than anticipated.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), PSA (Peugeot and Citroën), BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz and Smart), Ford, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Renault-Nissan have all stated that their engines comply with regulations, and FCA even proudly announced that it fully supports the EU’s efforts and works along side it so that its figures more accurately reflect real-world figures.
For VAG on the other hand, Australia could fine the German automobile empire millions of dollars after the chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claimed that the device is prohibited and that environmental claims such as CO2 emissions affect consumers and on that account can mislead buyers.
Authorities in Switzerland have also placed a ban on select diesel cars from the VW group which utilise the 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0 TDI engines.
Credit Suisse estimates that it could cost the company up to €78 billion, although more conservative estimates place it at around €23 billion.
To further complicate matters, VAG recently announced that it’s unsure whether European-spec cars even used the defeat device in the first place!
Nevertheless, if you own any of the following cars, it’s worth doing some investigating.