RPT-Illegal VW diesel emission systems may require two solutions

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

500,000 Volkswagens and 400,000 Audis in UK are affected by emissions cheating scandal, reveals German carmaker.

The company admitted today that within its various brands the number includes 508,276 Volkswagens, 393,450 Audis, 76,773 Seats, 131,569 Skodas and 79,838 commercial vehicles.Almost one in 10 diesel cars on the UK’s roads may need to be recalled after it was revealed that they are fitted with an illegal device that helps them cheat pollution tests, Volkswagen has announced. Details of the vehicles affected will be released to retailers ‘in the coming days’, while owners will also be able to check via a self-serve process if their car requires a modification.

Motorists will be told if their cars are affected in coming weeks before being ordered to take vehicles into garages to get the system “corrected”, it was confirmed. In a statement Volkswagen Group UK said: ‘Step by step, affected customers will be contacted, with details of a process to get their vehicles corrected in the near future. VW said it would contact owners over the next few days to correct the problem and set up an online portal where customers can check to see if their vehicles contain the emissions-rigging software. The Environmental Protection Agency said 482,000 of VW’s 2009-15 models in the US were fitted with the sophisticated software, which switches engines to a cleaner mode when they are undergoing official testing.

The Department for Transport has launched an investigation which will include retesting to compare laboratory results with real-world driving emissions. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “The government’s priority is to protect the public and I understand VW are contacting all UK customers affected. Olaf Lies, who is also economy minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, said those who allowed the deception to happen must take ‘personal responsibility’ for the fall-out.

The news comes almost two weeks after the the German car maker admitted that certain diesel models contained software that secretly turns off pollution controls when a car is being driven and turns them on only when it detects the car is undergoing an emissions test. Speaking to BBC’s Newsnight, Mr Lies said: ‘Those people who allowed this to happen or who made the decision to install this software – they acted criminally. Law firm Leigh Day, which is investigating potential legal claims on behalf of hundreds of vehicle owners and companies with fleets of cars in Britain, has written to new CEO Matthias Mueller demanding that the company agree to a settlement to compensate consumers for the premium they paid for what they thought were ‘clean’ diesel cars, as well as for other losses. Several countries besides Germany have also opened probes, and on yesterday Japan said it was ordering some of the country’s biggest automakers to report on whether their diesel vehicles meet standards. The letter, sent on September 29, states: “If it is found that defeat devices have been used in our clients’ vehicles, this undoubtedly amounts to a misrepresentation and a breach of contract. “While we welcome the news that repairs will be undertaken to upgrade the affected cars to comply with EU nitrogen dioxide emission standards, such repairs may result in reduced fuel efficiency and increased CO2 emissions which in turn may impact upon the vehicle excise duty payable and other associated costs.” “We still have little clarity as to what remedial action is proposed by VW.

Yesterday Volkswagen revealed a plan to refit millions of vehicles affected by the scam as its new chief vowed to act ruthlessly to overcome the ‘severest test’ in the car giant’s history. The German government has given VW until October 7 to explain how it will resolve the scandal, which has wiped €29 billion ($33 bn), or 38 per cent, off VW’s market value in 10 days. It followed the resignation last Wednesday of Martin Winterkorn, who issued a grovelling apology for the scandal but denied any wrong-doing personally.

Last Friday Germany’s transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt, revealed that some 2.8million vehicles in his country – Europe’s biggest car market – were caught up in the scandal. Volkswagen has set aside €6.5bn to cover damages including fixes for the vehicles, potential regulatory fines and lawsuits, but the cost of the fallout is expected to be much larger. A county in Texas has sued Volkswagen Group of America for $100m, according to reports from Bloomberg, claiming the carmaker’s cheating on emission controls worsened pollution in the area. It is understood the county is seeking penalties of as much as $25,000 a day for an estimated 6,000 diesel-powered Volkswagen autos sold there since 2009.

Meanwhile, Sweden became the latest country yesterday to consider an investigation into Volkswagen, joining a list that includes the EU, Australia, South Africa and Brazil. Germany’s finance minister says he expects that the emissions-rigging scandal will prompt a lot of structural changes at Volkswagen but he doesn’t see it damaging Germany as a business location. Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted Wednesday as saying in an interview with the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland group of newspapers: “We will emerge from this crisis stronger too.

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