What you need to know about the VW emissions scandal

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Everything we know about Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Local Volkswagen dealers WCCO contacted declined to comment. BERLIN (AP) — The latest developments in the scandal enveloping Volkswagen over the company’s admission that it rigged emissions tests for diesel-powered cars.

Volkswagen’s emissions scandal ballooned Tuesday as the automaker said it affects 11 million vehicles worldwide and will require the company to set aside 6.5 billion euro ($7.3 billion).In the mid- to late-2000s, diesel engines were still saddled with a woeful reputation in North America; they were thought of as being smoky, sooty, clattering conveyances, as un-sexy a mode of transport as anything.

Volkwagen stunningly admitted that some 11 million of the German carmaker’s diesel vehicles contain software that evades emissions controls, far more than the 482,000 identified by the U.S. Schneiderman says he has opened an investigation into the Volkswagen cars and he will collaborate with other states to enforce consumer and environmental protections in the case. “No company should be allowed to evade our environmental laws or promise consumers a fake bill of goods,” Schneiderman said in a statement announcing the probe. Environmental Protection Agency accused the German automaker of installing illegal software on many of its diesel-engine vehicles to trick regulators into believing the cars were complying with emissions standards when they were actually spewing 40 times the number of harmful pollutants on the road.

HOW DID VW DO IT?VW installed special software, called a ‘defeat device,’ on some 2009-2015 model cars equipped with a popular diesel engines so they would comply with the EPA and also California emissions standards The device would activate the cars’ emission controls during testing, but deactivate them in real-world driving. In This June 24, 2015 photo Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn arrives for an official state dinner for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, in front of Germany’s President Joachim Gauck’s residence, Bellevue Palace, in Berlin.

Senator from Florida is pointing to the Volkswagen emissions deception and other recent auto industry scandals to question why government agencies aren’t better protecting people. I apologize in every way to our customers, to authorities and the whole public for the wrongdoing.” “I do not have the answers to all the questions at this point myself, but we are in the process of clearing up the background relentlessly,” Winterkorn said.

Bill Nelson questioned what the Obama administration is doing and why it’s not “dropping the hammer” on corporations and executives who deceive the American people. Yet, in the mid-2000s, manufacturers still faced challenges in convincing drivers from the world’s biggest car market, the United States, that diesels had changed. And that is why intentionally cheating on emissions tests is not sitting well with local consumers like Volkswagen owner Sue Dahl, even though her Beetle is not one of the models affected “I think that’s very concerning,” Dahl said. “It’s also concerning I think about other car makers.

Nelson says the General Motors ignition switch scandal has cost over 100 lives and faulty air bags made by Takata Corp. can explode with too much force also have killed people. It notes the position of the steering wheel, variations in speed and other data that suggest no one is driving the car, and thus it is likely being tested. The EPA said Friday that VW faces potential fines of $37,500 per vehicle, and that anyone found personally responsible is subject to $3,750 per violation. Also, depending on the specific region and price fluctuations, diesel fuel may not have been less expensive than gasoline – at various times in Canada, diesel has been more expensive.

To complicate matters, there was another issue with the diesel fuel available in North America: It wasn’t the same quality as the fuel sold in Europe – it was dirtier, it contained more sulfur. Volkswagen has admitted that it intentionally installed software programmed to switch engines to a cleaner mode during official emissions testing. (AP Photo/Michael Probst) (Michael Probst/AP) The U.S.

Bo Watson of Chattanooga, a vocal critic of Volkswagen’s labor policies, on Tuesday cited the state’s “significant investment” into the plant in calling for the Senate Finance Committee to investigate the potential of revelations that VW used secret software thwart pollution controls. In Europe, the focus is on carbon-dioxide emissions; manufacturer claims about CO2 performance follows closely on the heels of statements about engine horsepower and torque. VW had to meet regulations to sell its cars but emissions control devices lower the car’s performance and fuel economy which are why many people buy the vehicles. A manufacturer could choose to build a car to be sold everywhere but in California – and, indeed, this has happened for short periods with certain models. In May 2009, he presented his country’s first concerted effort to reduce emissions and dependency on foreign oil; this plan called for vehicle fleet fuel economy averages to reach 6.6 litres/100 km by 2016.

The EPA says the software affects the four-cylinder diesel versions of the 2009-2015 Jetta, Beetle, Golf, the 2014 and 2015 Passat and the 2009 to 2015 Audi A3. Lucia Caudet, industry spokeswoman for the European Commission, told reporters at a daily briefing that while it is “premature to draw any conclusions,” the commission needs to “shed light” on VW’s actions. And in my German words, we have totally screwed up,” the head of Volkswagen’s U.S. division, Michael Horn, said Monday while unveiling a new Passat model in New York. “We must fix those cars to prevent this from ever happening again, and we have to make things right. All of these factors combined to create the perfect storm within the engineering department at Volkswagen, the company having invested so much of its future on diesel technology.

The German company has not yet explained why so-called “defeat devices” were installed on some diesel models sold between 2008 and this year. “We owe it to our consumers and for the environment. With the government, the public, our customers, our employees, and very importantly, with our dealers.” The shockwaves were felt across the sector as traders wondered who else may get embroiled.

In 2009, at the launch for the then-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan, there were a number of different models available to test, including gasoline-powered models, as well as the S 400 Hybrid (gas-electric) and the S 350 CDI BlueEfficiency. For Mercedes, the BlueEfficiency label represented its own attempts to market next-generation diesel cars to North Americans; here, these diesel-powered vehicles were called “BlueTec.” In the S-Class and other Mercedes diesels, there was a special additive used to help curb NOx emissions. But in the space of 24 hours, Volkswagen has gone from one people could trust to one people don’t know what to think of,” said Nigel Currie, an independent U.K.-based sponsorship and branding consultant. The debate was whether North Americans would accept such a situation when they could drive a gasoline-powered S-Class and be removed from the hassle and the cost. German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said he was setting up a commission to determine whether the VW diesel vehicles were built and examined in a way that complied with German and European rules.

He said VW’s employees are “building the best vehicles for our customers,” and said “it would be wrong to place the hard and honest work of 600,000 people under general suspicion because of the grave mistakes of a few.” The company said the 6.5 billion euros it is setting aside this quarter will cover necessary service measures and “other efforts to win back the trust” of customers. This additive was sprayed into the exhaust gases during the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) process, neutralizing the NOx by separating the compound into harmless nitrogen and oxygen. This story has been corrected to show that Volkswagen shares dropped 31 percent over two days, not 35 percent, and that the company’s market value fell by $26 billion, not $30 billion.

The company hasn’t revealed the results of internal investigations, although it has said that the software in question was installed in other vehicles with diesel engines, and asserted that in most cases, it “does not have any effect.” Before the scandal, Winterkorn, CEO since 2007, was hoping to have his stewardship of the company extended at a board meeting Friday. Earlier this month, Volkswagen said it planned to give Winterkorn a two-year contract extension which would keep him in charge through the end of 2018. But none of the vehicles involved in the current VW scandal utilized this system; in fact, when the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine first appeared on the market in 2009, it came as a surprise that AdBlue was not required to help the engine meet emissions standards.

What we now know is that the engine did not meet those standards and does not meet them today; VW failed to meet the challenge of producing a clean, inexpensive, fuel-efficient and low-maintenance diesel engine for the North American market. There are 482,000 models affected – this number includes the 2009-2015 VW Jetta 2.0L TDI, 2010-2015 VW Golf 2.0L TDI, 2012-2015 VW Passat 2.0L TDI and 2010-2015 Audi A3 2.0L TDI. The results: the Jetta emitted 15-35 times more NOx than the amount found in previous laboratory tests; the Passat emitted 5-20 times as much NOx as was found in lab tests. A recall notice was issued on the affected vehicles and VW claimed it had fixed the issue; subsequent laboratory tests revealed acceptable numbers again, but the real-world tests showed a smaller but still large discrepancy. The upshot: VW engineers failed to produce a true “clean diesel” that would live up to the marketing push, so they crafted a software algorithm to cheat the emissions test.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said Monday that the panel’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations will hold a hearing “in the coming weeks” on VW’s use of the defeat devices. When the system determined that the car was on the open road, the emissions controls were dialled back so that the cars would produce better acceleration and fuel-efficiency. The federal government paid out as much as $51 million in green car subsidies for Volkswagen diesel vehicles based on falsified pollution test results, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of the federal incentives.

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