Volkswagen emission scandal widens: 11 million cars affected

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

11 Million Cars Worldwide Have Emissions ‘Defeat Device,’ Volkswagen Says.

The software that allegedly causes Volkswagen cars to cheat official emissions tests only exists in one type of diesel engine, according to the carmaker — and it has sold 11 million of them around the world.The US chief executive of Volkswagen has said the company has “totally screwed up” over the emissions scandal that has rocked the automotive industry.

Michael Horn, the head of the Volkswagen brand in the U.S was profusely apologetic for the diesel-emissions cheating scandal that emerged on Friday and vowed to win back the trust of the U.S. consumer. The world’s second-biggest carmaker could face a fine of up to $18bn (£11.6bn), criminal charges for its executives, and legal action from customers and shareholders due to US claims it used a defeat device to falsify emissions data.

The device recognises when the car is being tested and immediately cuts emissions to a level that is much lower than normal and unsustainable under usual driving conditions. Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Volkswagen admitted that it had rigged diesel vehicles to pass emissions tests in the lab, exposing the company to as much as $18 billion in fines.

What we are dealing with is making sure people avoid being poisoned by pollution.” South Korea said on Tuesday it would investigate emissions of the VW Jetta and Gold models plus Audi A3 cars produced in 2014 and 2015. Fallout from the emissions trickery stripped more than $15 billion away from Volkswagen’s market value Monday – a figure that’s roughly equal to the amount of fines that industry analysts say VW could face as a punishment. If problems are found, South Korea’s environment ministry said its inquiry could be expanded to all German diesel imports, which have surged in popularity in recent years in a market long dominated by local producers such as Hyundai. The House energy and commerce committee chairman, Fred Upton, and the oversight and investigations subcommittee chairman, Tim Murphy, announced that the oversight and investigations subcommittee will hold a hearing. Today, Volkswagen also said it “does not tolerate any kind of violation of laws whatsoever” and reiterated its goal of winning back its customers’ trust. “The news that the Volkswagens produce far more pollution than is legal is sure to rattle some VW owners who bought their cars at least in part because of their perceived impact on the environment.

Horn, speaking at an event to launch a new version of the Passat sedan, which featured rock star Lenny Kravitz, said: “Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California air resources board and with all of you, and in my German words: we have totally screwed up. “We must fix the cars to prevent this from ever happening again and we have to make this right. The U.S. government also has reason to feel duped: Volkswagen’s ‘clean diesel’ TDI engines earned a $1,300 federal tax credit for people who purchased a Jetta sedan or wagon back in 2009, the first year affected by the recall.”

One of the officials involved in uncovering the alleged behaviour has told the Guardian that the emissions-fixing scandal could extend to other companies and countries. Billions of pounds have been wiped off the value of global carmakers amid growing concerns that emissions tests may have been rigged across the industry. “We need to ask the question, is this happening in other countries and is this happening at other manufacturers? A British expert in low-emission vehicles claimed the manipulation of air pollution data could be widespread and that tests in Europe are “much more open to this sort of abuse”. All credit to the EPA for investigating and finding the truth.” Archer, the former managing director of the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and non-executive director for the government’s Renewable Fuels Agency, said the scandal could spread into petrol cars and CO2 levels. “It is probably not limited to diesel and not limited to emissions,” he added.

There is no evidence that manufacturers cheat the cycle. “The industry acknowledges, however, that the current test method is outdated and is seeking agreement from the European commission for a new emissions test that embraces new testing technologies and is more representative of on-road conditions.” The US allegations involve a series of diesel cars produced by VW and the brands it owns, such as Audi.

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