By on September 19, 2015

Volkswagen TDI

This is hardly the most severe fallout from Volkswagen admitting that it installed “defeat devices” on some of its diesel models to help pass emission tests, but it’s the first of many.

Consumer Reports announced Friday that it was stripping the models of its “recommended” rating until recall repair work was complete on those cars. The publication had bestowed the ratings on Volkswagen’s Jetta TDI and Passat TDI models.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would force VW to recall nearly 500,000 diesel cars for the illegal “defeat device” that could detect when it was being tested for emissions and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 10 to 40 times beyond its normal operations. The EPA could fine VW up to $37,500 for each car that violates its standards, which could tally up to $18 billion in fines.

According to reports, VW issued a voluntary recall in 2014 for the emissions flap, but subsequent testing showed limited improvement.

The unusual action by the EPA of recalling cars could be followed by an unprecedented penalty for the automaker as the government cracks down on automakers.

According to the EPA, the cars can still be driven on U.S. roads and dealers may still sell the cars as new or used, but owners may not be able to register or renew registrations for the cars until the recall repair work is complete.

Pass the popcorn.

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231 Comments on “Consumer Reports Strips ‘Recommended’ Rating From VW TDIs...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Wow, glad this isn’t about a major brand that many people trust.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      As the former owner of a 2001 VW Jetta GLS TDI, I have to say that Volkswagen is 100% responsible for my Toyota fanboyism.

      If you look under the hood of a Ford or a Toyota, you see much more attention to long term utility of the vehicle than you do on the VW I owned.

      The half-assed engineering I saw under the hood of wy VW, and particularly in their choice of the 50k-mile ZF 01M 4-speed automatic gearbox for my car, is entirely consistent with the kind of lazy arrogance required to cheat on the emissions tests.

      Makes you skeptical of the whole “German Engineering” thing.

      Makes you wonder if they cheated on the crash tests, too…

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        I’ll pass on giving Ford a thumbs up in the honesty department, since they cheated on the MPG ratings for the C-Max and cheated on the crash test for the new F-150.

        This is an epidemic of cost cutters arm twisting the automakers engineers to save nickels due to lazy government oversight.

        • 0 avatar
          hf_auto

          @dwford:
          You’re right about the cost-cutting, and it goes up a level to shareholders. I left automotive engineering because it made me sick to see, time and time again, that rather than doing “the right thing” companies take a short-sighted approach to appease shareholders. Mix that with all the “relationship-based deals,” lobbying, price-fixing, unions, etc., etc. and you end up with a sleazy, greasy dinosaur of an industry.

          I genuinely hope Tesla, Google, et. al. break up this old boys club.

          • 0 avatar
            Rudolph

            @hf_auto re leaving

            Many decades ago , I was intensely interested in auto engineering •

            Had I entered the profession , I doubt I would have lasted long •

            The protocol ought to have been:
            1• Marketing asks engineering to build vehicle to perform thus and so •.
            2• Engineering designs a vehicle to do thus and so*
            3• Engineering furnishes design to production and marketing and says „ “Here you go• Build and sell it •”

            ▼ :o Unfortunately >:( ▼
            Accounting and risk management say „ “Thou can’t do that – it’s way too expensive !
            We can buy off the deceased and injured for ¼¯that¯cost ‼

            * Designs a vehicle that can climb Pikes Peak during the summer at full throttle with W=GVWR+10% , tire pressure=recommended psi-10% ; without either the engine or the transmission overheating •
            There ▬►WILL BE◄▬ temperature gauges for the turbo exhaust , engine oil and transmission lubricant temperatures• ☺

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “Makes you wonder if they cheated on the crash tests, too…”

        What it makes me wonder is how in blue blazes VW is so popular in Europe but Toyota and Honda have barely made a dent in that market except for all the Toyo trucks and high-end Lexi British production companies buy for TV props.

        My own pet theory is that Euros excluding Germans are secretly still vehemently racist against the Japanese because when the Sons of Heaven rampaged through the European colonies at the start of WWII they committed atrocities to all the European civilians living there including women and children in their path.

        If true this is clearly a temporary phenomenon that will die with the generations who heard those stories from their embittered elders. But by then Europeans will have been mostly supplanted in their own lands by muslims and Volkswagen by Caliphate Motors.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          While the Japanese were gaining ground in the US during the 1970s, the Europeans did an effective job of using quotas to keep them out.

          Europeans also have less cause to worry about reliability (they drive less and have tax laws that encourage leasing) and had less reason to switch during the 1970s (they weren’t driving gas guzzlers when OPEC began to increase oil prices).

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            So Europeans literally don’t know or need what they’re missing? Makes sense.

            I DO envy them their small vans that would never sell enough to be imported here.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I would consider the possibility that the Japanese would have remained niche producers in the US had there not been an oil crisis that compelled many Americans to seek out alternatives. Gas lines had an impact on consumer behavior, and gave Americans an opportunity to realize that the imports were not just different but better.

            I don’t think that the Japanese have ever quite figured out how to tune a suspension in a way that will please many Europeans. In a continent of frustrated aspiring rally drivers, road feel counts for something in a way that it does not Stateside.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Imagining all the social and economic forces of that era absent a gas crisis is a fascinating idea.

            My own remembrance of that time makes me initially lean to believing that the perfect storm favoring adoption of J-Cars would’ve happened anyway, but the question will intrigue me for several days.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Wouldn’t having a more useful device at the end of the lease still reduce the cost of a lease?

          • 0 avatar

            The reason Japanese cars are not popular in Europe is simple – European cars are better in most aspects – not as boring, not as ugly, better suspension, better handling and designed by Europeans for Europeans – Europeans set standards in fashion and design for the rest of the world. Reliability is not a big factor in Europe. In developing countries and colonies these criterion do not matter much.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Have you been to Europe in the past twenty years? Their traffic makes ours look exciting. French and Italian cars are uglier than Buicks. Colors are even scarcer in most countries than they are here. And then there’s the little matter of noxious emissions… Good on Japan for not poisoning everyone with abundant diesels for the past couple decades.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            CJinSD,
            The Japanese do offer many diesels. Every brand almost does in most models.

            We have them here. Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, even the all the Korean vehicles are offered in diesel.

            So, it’s a misconception you have. It’s just you view “Japanese” by what you drive on the road in the US.

            You’ll find the Japanese vehicle makeup in the US is different than many other nations, except maybe Australia/NZ. But then we have a larger selection of vehicles on offer in Australia, even within models.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            You’ll be hard pressed to find a diesel passenger car in the markets that Japan dominates. They build a few smokers to respond to the market conditions of certain misguided markets, like the EU and Australia. It’s obvious that Toyota’s preferred way of reducing fuel consumption, or ‘CO2 emissions,’ is through a combination of gasoline and electric hybridization rather than toxic diesels and falsified emissions tests like you lot practice though.

      • 0 avatar
        zerofoo

        After owning 3 VWs I can say with some authority that the “German Engineering” thing means absolutely nothing except frequent failure and high repair and maintenance costs.

        I have a good friend who is a VW/Audi/Porsche mechanic – he has an endless list of German Engineering horror stories.

        Look around at any suburban community. There is a reason why Hondas and Toyotas fill those communities. Reliable, cheap, and efficient are not typically associated with the German brands.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        And you honestly think Toyota and Ford haven’t cheated the consumer. Lets start with Toyota’s incorrect higher HP and torque figures on there 2.4 and 3.5 engines or the failure to recall there death trap cars over the faulty gas pedals until NHTSA made them do so. Or how about there rusted out dangerous truck frames that they refuse to acknowledge and instead just keep replacing them with another crap frame or offer to buy the truck back and pull the dirt under the carpet. Oh and let’s not forget the lovely Prius with it’s 61 MPG rating that dropped down to a more realistic 50.

        And then their is Ford with it’s lies about MPG for the C-max and Fusion Hybrid plus there fiasco with the F-150 crash tests.

        And don’t get us started on the GM ignition key fiasco. Most every car company is guilty of covering up and cheating as there one main goal in life is making money!

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        > is entirely consistent with the kind of lazy arrogance required to cheat on the emissions tests.

        Speaking of laziness – YOU bought a VW with a slushbox instead of a manual transmission. Basically taking the easy way out instead of shifting the vehicle yourself.

        Pot, meet kettle.

    • 0 avatar
      davegyza

      I demand a complimentary Golf R to appease my outrage.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      > Consumer Reports Strips ‘Recommended’ Rating From VW TDIs…”

      Consumer Reports is doing this not so much because of the scandal, but because they were made to look bad due to the scandal.

      Consumer Reports is only looking out for #1 – Consumer Reports.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Now, finally, will people stop making corporate America into a religion when in truth, at the highest levels at least, it’s often just a bunch of international sinners? As an owner of two VWs (non-diesel), I hope they fine the pants off them.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      But according to that popular St Ron punchline “government is the problem”.

      My business interactions with government have been mostly straight forward, dealing with large private corporations supply chains rates as a OMFG WTF .

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        I would suppose a true right wing believer would blame the government for imposing regulations in the first place. Cancerous air = freedom!

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          The State only has two legitimate functions:

          1 – To protect the citizens from hostile foreigners, by maintaining a strong military and using it only to protect legitimate national interests and citizens.

          2 – To prevent those same citizens from victimizing each other, in practical terms meaning the prosecution of murder, theft and physical assault, as well as the enforcement of private property rights.

          AND. THAT’S. IT.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            You’re dumb as a rock. Please immediately begin breeding. Humans reaching critical mass is the only way I’ll be rid of you.

            -Nature

            “My Mistakes Are Always Self-Correcting”

          • 0 avatar
            Whatnext

            According to who?

            If the state has to prevent its citizens from hostile foreigners, why isn’t it obligated to protect its citizens from hostile diseases?

            The state has the right to do whatever its citizens allow it to do. Its a creation of humankind, not some absolute.

          • 0 avatar
            zerofoo

            This action by the Feds could very well fall under your “protector not provider” view on government.

            If I bought a TDI vehicle based on it’s advertised emissions and fuel economy characteristics – and then found out that I was sold a fraudulent bill of goods, I would want the Government to punish those that committed the fraud.

            The clean air thing is a side-benefit of the Government enforcing honesty in commerce.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          >>I would suppose a true right wing believer would blame the government for imposing regulations in the first place. Cancerous air = freedom!<<

          You lose:

          75% in U.S. See Widespread Government Corruption

          WASHINGTON, D.C. SEPTEMBER 19, 2015-

          – Three in four Americans (75%) last year perceived corruption as widespread in the country's government. This figure is up from two in three in 2007 (67%) and 2009 (66%).

          http://www.gallup.com/poll/185759/widespread-government-corruption.aspx

          btw, when Reagan became Prez faith in government here was at a nadir. Reagan’s great success perversely restored faith in government. So much so that a nothing burger named George Bush succeeded him – something unheard of, a non-incumbent successor of the same party winning after a two term presidency hadn’t happened in well over a century.

          2015 – Faith in government gone again – who could have predicted that?

      • 0 avatar

        Because people who work for the government are a special class of human beings, who never lie, cheat or steal, unlike the rest of humanity.

        • 0 avatar
          JD23

          Didn’t know that government regulators are selfless heroes looking out only for your best interest? They’re not at all like the scoundrels in the private sector.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            And if they are scoundrels, a judge will keep it form being discussed in court during prosecutions of murders they cause.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          Misanthropes, scoundrels, megalomaniacs and other assorted troublemakers in the corporations of the world have been responsible for many thousands of deaths.

          Their counterparts in the various governments of the world have caused ten thousand times that. Remember, it wasn’t Walmart or General Motors that ran Kolyma or the White Sea Canal.

          Given the choice, I’ll gladly take the worst real-world version of Weyland-Yutani over the most generous and benevolent government.

          I might also point out that people who die as the result of corporate malfeasance aren’t deliberately targeted for termination – the people at the company who cause those deaths are chasing money, and bystanders just happen to get hurt.

          One cannot say the same for the hundreds of millions of victims of state terrorism, who are often targeted specifically and deliberately for being members of hated ethnic minorities or political movements.

          Or, because there’s simply no place for them in the insane utopia their government is spilling an ocean of blood to create.

          By comparison to The State, The Corporation has clean hands and a peaceful conscience.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Couldn’t have said it better!

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            @OneAlfa

            Right on. Awesome.

            Btw, what does “corporate America” have to do with VW? Given the amout of “clean diesel” advertising, the amount of cars effected, and how important diesel sales are in this country as VW represents a huge chunk of the (admittedly small) US diesel passenger car market, its clear this goes far beyond the US arm of VAGacilin. The decision was made by VW as a whole, which is not “corporate America”. I know the libs love to blame things on evil US-based companies, but this is a stretch.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            What an adorable worldview: Nothing wrong with collateral damage in the pursuit of profit, only with attempting to contain it; because some governments have committed serious atrocities, we can’t have laws or an organization which enforces them.

            There’s no use defending people or the environment from being exploited for profit because another arm of the governing body may commit atrocities, like CAFE, which is spilling an “ocean of blood” in pursuit of an “insane utopia”.

            I’ve heard all of this before, and exclusively from people with piles of trash on their lawn.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Well said, OneAlpha.

            Brenschluss… how are you to be taken seriously with that avatar of you looking up as you pinch a loaf in the bowels of the FCC offices?!?!

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          you are such a kidder, Ronnie. These days, they do all of the above, but never seem to be held to account.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>ExPatBrit<<

        You're looking especially silly just after the EPA managed to cause the largest domestic toxic waste spill in US history. And unlike the huge reaction against British Petroleum, the same administration appears to be very tightlipped. As w/ their usual media allies.

        And yes, Ron looks very good in comparison to what poses as leadership today. Like your expat country, which hasn't had a leader of note since Thatcher.

        Throughout history unchecked government power has lead to more human misery than any other source. The US Constitution was designed to prevent such here – something “progressives” see as an impediment to their designs – see Wilson, Woodrow et al.

        Expat Brits would better understand that had the US not intervened in either of the "great" wars.

        In defense of the Germans, the best British cars are German, notably the Bentleys and Rolls.

        • 0 avatar
          ExPatBrit

          Don’t get your knickers in a twist, you are reading too much into what I said.

          I merely said my interaction with government and regulations has “mostly ” not been a big problem for me.

          Thatcher was very good for me, in the sense that she caused a lot people like me to get my arse out of the UK ASAP.

          The xeno-phobia is unbecoming, I am well aware that the US showed up after the second or third act and won WW1 and 2 for us all.

          Bentleys and Rolls are for old people and are both meh, frankly I can’t afford one anyway.

          Wouldn’t say no to a Mclaren or Lotus though.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          So the centuties old mining practices didn’t cause the toxic sludge spill, the people who tried to desl with the mess and got flooded when they peeked at it; they “caused” the spill. Thats not simplistic, it’s stupid. (The idea, not the espouser; he’s just misguided for profit.)

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    If VW had built its plant in Puerto Rico instead of Tennessee they could have used the fine to pay off their deficit.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …According to the EPA, the cars can still be driven on U.S. roads and dealers may still sell the cars as new or used, but owners may not be able to register or renew registrations for the cars until the recall repair work is complete…

    So for all intent and purposes, can’t be sold unless you want a 3,500 pound paperweight in your driveway.

    Oh wait, VW owners are use to that.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I got used to that quickly, back when I owned a VW.

      I own Toyotas, now.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        You never do get tired of thinking your one VW was representative of everything and repeating it ad nauseum

        See what Toyota ownership has done to you? Turned you into an old grandpa that tells the same stories over and over again at reunions :)

        Can you go buy a Golf of something just so you have some new VW stuff to talk about?

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        @Luke42
        > I own Toyotas, now.

        So YOU’RE one of those left-lane bandit Camry owners driving 10 miles under the speed limit.

  • avatar
    manny_c44

    The situation seems overblown; so the car has a ‘best-behavior’ mode– most people don’t drive lightly enough to reach the EPA mileage or emissions estimates anyway. Is the car’s real-world behavior that much worse than its dyno behavior? Is there real data on this that we can look at? A recall and 30k fines seems like a massive overreach.

    Need more information, at the very least.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      TTAC doesn’t have much of the details posted. You have to go check other sites to find out the full deal.

      The “best behaviour mode” is meant to detect ONLY the EPA test procedure. Down to the exact position of the steering wheel, temperature of the test booth, and run-time of the engine.

      “If the engine is started cold at n degrees, warmed up for exactly m Minutes, accelerates at exactly x m/s/s for s seconds, and the steering wheel never moves from on-center, then…”

      VW has admitted to EPA that it was intentionally dodging the test. Rumor has it EPA wouldn’t certify the 2016 models for sale until VW issued a confession.

      Driving on a normal street with the same acceleration as the the EPA test produces 10x-40x the NOx emissions as the same inputs on the test.

      VW isn’t the first car company to have gotten caught doing this. Volvo got fined for doing the same stuff on their heavy trucks a decade or so ago. I’ve heard Honda got caught doing it in the 90’s as well. The fine is so high because automakers keep trying to do it anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        frenzic

        Could you point me to those other sites please? I’d like to be informed. The usual suspects are failing me lately.

        • 0 avatar
          Lack Thereof

          Many “old media” outlets – NYT, NPR, etc – are reporting that Volkwagen has admitted to dodging the test. The source of that info seems to be this document from CARB, which contains details of a September 3rd meeting where VW admitted to having a separate program in the ECU just for the EPA certification test: http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/in_use_compliance_letter.htm

          The details of the methods used to detect if the car is in a test or on the street – steering angle, temperature, etc – are being reported in more technical outlets, like Ars Technica and Car & Driver. The source for that info seems to be this EPA document: http://www3.epa.gov/otaq/cert/documents/vw-nov-caa-09-18-15.pdf

          • 0 avatar
            frenzic

            Thanks for the information and leads. Turns out I’d written off old school media prematurely in favor of specialized publications.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      40x worse in NOx emissions sounds “that much worse” to me!

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    VW, knowingly, fraudulently programs the ECU on its diesel motor equipped vehicles to curb particulates and pollution to fool emissions tests – and may be fined as much as 18 billion USD.

    General/Government Motors knowingly uses defective ignition switches for many years, even going so far as to order production of replacement ignition switches instructing a supplier to NOT change the part number in an attempt to conceal this known defect from NHTSA, regulators, customers, courts, etc., – leading to at least 124 fatalities and hundreds more serious injuries – and is fined 900 million USD.

    This is the very definition of corrupt, captured government, not only failing, but sabotaging the citizenry.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Yep. GM pinches their pennies so tightly that the ignition won’t even hold the key in place and gets regulatory kid gloves. VW works around a regulation to build a more durable and economical product to directly benefit its customers and the short haired women at the EPA are out for blood.

    • 0 avatar
      GermanReliabilityMyth

      I alluded to it in a comment last night, but this reinforces the message that the government considers the environment more important than human lives. Take that for what you will, but the implication is certainly there. And for those who are ready to refute that statement, what VW did is not tantamount to the UK’s “diesel-palooza” that has negatively impacted the health of some people. I’m not saying that human lives or the environment are any more important than the other (one could argue that so goes the environment, so goes humanity, at least to an extent). What I’m saying is that GM got off easy because they were “first” and it appears that the government is trying to see how far they can push the envelope with each newly-found infraction.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Well, when you consider that the intellectual horsepower – so to speak – of environmentalism considers mankind to be a mortal threat to nature, all the policies of mainstream environmentalism, which invariably attack economic freedom and private property rights, come into focus.

        Environmentalism also aligns quite nicely with Marxism, which considers corporations – capitalists in their parlance – to be evil exploiters of the common man. Combine the two and you get what could be deemed Watermelonism.

        But what I don’t get is the self-righteousness and sanctimony evident in the reactions of the EPA to this particular dodge.

        People break Federal drug, gun, tax and importation laws all the time, but rarely is there a Gasp-And-Swoon-Well-I-Never! reaction to some dude trying to sneak a Skyline past the Long Beach Customs Office. They just arrest the guy, confiscate the car and go back to staring out the window.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “Intellectual horsepower”

          It’s worth repeating here that you believe it is safe to sit in a garage with a running vehicle until the sun burns out.

          I find that to be very helpful context for the rants that have followed.

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          You should try going back to living in Los Angeles in the 1970s, before all those freedom-crushing emissions regulations came into place.

          Or, try living in Beijing right now. Those factories have a lot of freedom, you know. More freedom than ‘Murica.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        The environment directly affects all human lives, even the ones who wear seatbelts!

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Thank you for that comment. I was thinking that there was something in the air causing logical thought to cease functioning. Clean resources are not free, just as “freedom” is not. Failing to protect what is necessary for continued survival is critical. We pay for that for that freedom not only with tax dollars, but human lives as well. Maintaining a clean planet is no different – and no less critical.

          Really, try to separate political agendas for a moment and think of what a traffic jam would smell like today if all emission control was left to the omnipotent “market forces”….or what that crash scene would look like. Despite some serious teething problems created by such regulations, the overall affect has been far more positive than negative.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            We pay for what you call clean resources with freedom. There should be a nation that holds freedom precious, but there isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      NHTSA has no teeth, and their dollar value of a statistical life is much lower than both EPA and FDA. Not as low as OSHA’s, but still low.

      Takata’s going to get off with a slap on the wrist, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The ignition recall will probably cost GM about $5 billion.

      In any case, recall penalties are capped per incident, while Clean Air Act violations are capped per vehicle. For those who aren’t pumped up on conspiracy theories and adrenaline, that approach make sense.

    • 0 avatar
      anomaly149

      The whole lack of a part number change smells far more like an engineer and a purchasing guy getting pissed off with unbelievably incompetent engineering change control and forcing the fix in through the back door. Engineering change control is generally run by some of the worst people in an organization, is almost always split up by individual vehicle line, and gets exponentially more difficult the more vehicle lines you’re dealing with on a single change.

      My memory of the whole lawyer report is that the engineer tried to get the change through engineering change control numerous times (at meetings where they intentionally don’t keep minutes) and getting stonewalled. He then made a no-rev-bump change and got purchasing to re-negotiate commercial price up (While leaving engineering price the same) so that the change could get implemented. This act alone took millions of bad ignition cylinders off the road and probably saved a great number of lives. So there’s a slightly different point of view on that issue.

      And all this because change control is absolutely dysfunctional at every.single.automotive.OEM.

      • 0 avatar
        mazdaman007

        @anomaly149
        Good synopsis, thank you. I have zero love for GM but to me there is a big difference between the ignition fiasco and VAG’s deliberate malfeasance/corporate conspiracy.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @DeadWeight: You are wrong in your characterization of the GM switch problem.

      The ignition switch issue was a very slowly unfolding problem. Keeping the same part number for the improved switch is a defendable engineering practice, that, in hindsight, was a mistake. This decision was NOT an attempt to conceal a defect from those you mention. It was a choice based upon form, fit, and function, all of which were essentially unchanged. The extent to which function actually changed is the question.

      Furthermore, at the time this change was made, there was NO smoking gun that linked deaths to this particular part. The supplier discovered the discrepancy, and the engineer fixed it. This happens every day in every industry.

      It is exceptionally hard to link a particular car death to a particular component in that car. 100 Americans die in cars every day, and it stands to reason that about 20 of them are GM cars. Alcohol plays a role in at least half of those, and speed and road conditions are probably the other half. Over the course of 10 years, this means about 73,000 people have died in GM cars. So far, about 130 of those deaths have been linked to the bad ignition switch, or about 0.2%.

      Even if there was an engineer sitting at GM waiting for a daily call about customers who’ve died in their cars, he’d have to sift past 99.8% of the cases to discover the ignition switch common thread. Then he’d have to summon the resources to investigate the issue.

      You make it sound as though GM knowingly put killer switches in their cars for a decade, just trying to save a dime on costs. The reality is that this was just a sad, Shakespearean comedy of errors.

      GM was fined relatively lightly because it could have done some things better, but was incompetent at several points. There was no conspiracy.

      VW, on the other hand, is clearly involved in a conspiracy to beat the law, and will suffer the consequences accordingly.

      • 0 avatar
        Duaney

        Very accurate depiction of the circumstances. Also discovered as a factor with the ignition switch debacle were the various forms of added weight dangling from the key rings of said ignition keys, something that few engineers design an ignition switch for. I’ve also wondered about the competence of the drivers of these vehicles where the ignition switch would turn off by itself. I’ve always thought that you could simply pull over to the side of the road, same thing if you run out of fuel, instead of going into a hysterical reaction where you crash the vehicle and get killed.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Or like the one incident where the 17 year-old was killed when her Cobalt — or two halves of it — wrapped themselves around two very large trees after splitting-off lengthwise from the impact.

          I don’t recall if weight on the keychain flipped the switch off, or if there were other factors, like if her knee hit the switch as the car was starting to careen out of control. However, IIRC, the girl was
          a. Doing something like ** 70 mph** — down some sort of path, driveway, or cul-de-sac, and..
          b. ..was severely impaired — drunk as a skunk and/or stoned.

          Correct me if I’m wrong.

          Even if someone is in active competition for a Darwin award, their estate is still entitled to cash money.

          :: Insert dead lawyer jokes here. ::

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Your summation is factually false, factually incomplete, chronologically incorrect, and essentially, a total butchering of history & statement of mistruth.

        Yous should feel shame if you intentionally misstated such things.

        http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/05/18/business/gms-ignition-problem-who-knew-what-when.html

        G.M.’s Ignition Problem: Who Knew What When
        By DANIELLE IVORY UPDATED September 15, 2014

        2001
        G.M.
        A pre-production report for the 2003 Saturn Ion identifies problems with the ignition switch, which can unexpectedly shut off, and will eventually lead to a recall of 2.6 million cars including the Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR, Saturn Ion and Sky and the Pontiac G5 and Solstice.

        February 2002
        G.M.
        G.M. approves the faulty design of the switch even though the company that made the part, Delphi, tells the automaker the switch does not meet specifications.

        February 26, 2003
        N.H.T.S.A.
        N.H.T.S.A. receives the first of many complaints about unexpected shutdowns in the now recalled models.

        November 2004
        G.M.
        G.M. opens an engineering inquiry to examine a complaint that the Cobalt can be “keyed off with knee while driving.”

        February 2005
        G.M.
        G.M. engineers meet to consider solutions to the ignition problem.

        March 2005
        G.M.
        G.M. closes the inquiry into the ignition because “none of the solutions represents an acceptable business case.”

        May 2005
        G.M.
        A “brand quality” division of G.M. notices a higher level of buybacks of the cars — under lemon laws or for other reasons — and urges that the company reopen an investigation into the ignition issue.

        July 29, 2005
        ACCIDENTS AND LAWSUITS
        Amber Marie Rose is killed in Maryland, the first death tied to the ignition switch.

        December 2005
        G.M.
        G.M. issues a service bulletin to dealers, alerting them to the ignition problem, but does not issue a recall.

        April 26, 2006
        G.M.
        A G.M. design engineer responsible for the ignition switch in the recalled vehicles signs a form, authorizing Delphi to change the ignition switch.

        October 2006
        G.M.
        G.M. updates the December 2005 service bulletin to include additional models and model years.

        March 2007
        N.H.T.S.A.
        Safety regulators tell G.M. employees about Ms. Rose’s crash.

        September 2007
        N.H.T.S.A.
        A division in N.H.T.S.A. proposes an investigation into airbag problems in Cobalts and Ions, based on a pattern of complaints dating back to 2005

        November 2007
        N.H.T.S.A.
        The division cites 29 complaints, 4 fatal crashes, and 14 field reports, but N.H.T.S.A. does not pursue a formal investigation

        December 2007
        G.M.
        By the end of 2007, G.M. learns of four more crashes when the engine was off and the air bag did not deploy.

        April 2008
        N.H.T.S.A.
        A N.H.T.S.A. contractor says to regulators that a fatal crash of a Cobalt in Wisconsin was linked to the ignition problem that G.M. had notified dealers about.

        July 3, 2008
        N.H.T.S.A.
        In response to a complaint, N.H.T.S.A writes to the driver of a Chevy HHR that stalled: “At this time, there is insufficient evidence to warrant opening a safety defect investigation.”

        March 2009
        G.M.
        Frederick “Fritz” Henderson becomes CEO, replacing Rick Wagoner, who had been CEO since 2000.

        May 2009
        G.M.
        G.M. looks at black box data for 14 crashes and find the ignition was recorded in the “accessory” position for half.

        June 2009
        G.M.
        G.M. files for bankruptcy.

        July 2009
        G.M.
        G.M. exits bankruptcy.

        December 2009
        G.M.
        Edward Whitacre, Jr. becomes interim CEO and eventually becomes permanent CEO.

        December 31, 2009
        ACCIDENTS AND LAWSUITS
        Hasaya Chansuthus dies after crashing her 2006 Cobalt in Tennessee. The airbags do not deploy. Her family files a lawsuit against G.M. the next month.

        2010
        N.H.T.S.A.
        The Office of Defects Investigation considers Cobalt trend information on non-deployment but determines the data does not show a trend.

        March 2010
        ACCIDENTS AND LAWSUITS
        Jennifer Brooke Melton is killed in a crash in Georgia after her engine shuts off. The airbags do not deploy. Her family files a lawsuit against G.M.

        Summer 2010
        G.M.
        G.M. ends Cobalt production.

        September 2010
        G.M.
        Daniel Akerson becomes CEO.

        February 2011
        ACCIDENTS AND LAWSUITS
        The Chansuthus family settles its lawsuit against G.M. Even though Ms. Chansuthus’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, the company pays the family an undisclosed amount.

        August 2011
        G.M.
        A G.M. engineer is assigned to move forward with an investigation of crashes involving the now recalled models.

        Some time in 2012
        G.M.
        Within G.M., a review of records “by those involved in the investigation” is conducted to find design changes in the switch that would cause the ignition problem.

        Nov. and Dec. 2012
        G.M.
        G.M. engineers conduct a study of the cars using the “Red X” and “design for Six Sigma” problem-solving methodology, but these produce inconclusive results.

        April to May 2012
        G.M.
        G.M. retains outside engineering resources to conduct a comprehensive ignition switch survey and assessment.

        September 2013
        ACCIDENTS AND LAWSUITS
        G.M. settles the case involving Ms. Melton, paying the family an undisclosed amount.

        October 29, 2013
        G.M.
        After dialogue with their supplier, Delphi, G.M. gets records that show changes had been made in ignition switches late in 2006 that would have increased the switch’s torque performance.

        January 2014
        G.M.
        Mary Barra becomes CEO.

        January 31, 2014
        G.M.
        There is an Executive Field Action Decision Committee meeting with engineers. The committee directs a safety recall of Cobalts 2005-7 and Pontiac G5 2007.

        February 24, 2014
        G.M.
        After additional analysis, G.M. announces an expanded recall, including the 2006-7 Chevrolet HHR, the 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice, the 2003-07 Saturn Ion and the 2007 Saturn Sky.

        March 28, 2014
        G.M.
        The recall is expanded to 2.6 million cars, to cover cars that might have been repaired with defective switches.

        April 10, 2014
        G.M.
        G.M. announces a second type of repair on the recalled cars because some vehicles won’t shut off even after the key is removed.

        May 16, 2014
        N.H.T.S.A.
        G.M. agrees to pay a $35 million penalty for failing to report the defective ignition switch to regulators in a timely way.

        June 5, 2014
        G.M.
        G.M. submits to lawmakers the results of an investigation overseen by Anton R. Valukas, a former United States attorney, into the company’s handling of the defective ignition switch. Mary Barra announces that 15 employees have been dismissed as a result of the delayed recall.

        June 13-16, 2014
        G.M.
        G.M. recalls nearly four million additional cars — including the 2014 model-year Chevrolet Impala — for similar ignition defects.

        August 2014
        G.M.
        By August, G.M. has recalled almost 16.5 million cars for ignition-related defects.

        August 1, 2014
        G.M.
        G.M.’s victim compensation program begins accepting claims.

        September 15, 2014
        G.M.
        Ken Feinberg, who administers G.M.’s victim compensation program, says he has, thus far, found 19 death claims eligible for the program. G.M. still only links 13 deaths to the ignition defect.

        September 16, 2014
        N.H.T.S.A.
        A Senate panel holds a hearing on the safety regulators. David Friedman, acting administrator of N.H.T.S.A., is called to testify.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          I wasn’t incorrect at all. None of what you pasted there describes a conspiracy – merely mistakes and at worst, negligence.

          It’s a long road from negligence to conspiracy.

          Sometimes simple mistakes result in death, and sometimes conspiracies do not. Don’t confuse result with intent.

          I’m no GM lover, but DW, your zeal blinds you to The Truth About Cars.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It’s really simple; GM knew of a deadly defect and covered it up for years, rather than fixing the problem in a manner consistent with proscribed regulations and laws, thus resulting in at least 124 deaths and over 240 serious injuries.

            You can twist the narrative any way you wish, but, this short, concise excerpt sums up the FACTS as GM, itself, now admits them to be:

            http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/09/17/gm-justice-department-ignition-switch-defect-settlement/32545959/

            “In a 52-page document chronicling their findings, federal investigators recited many of the same details regarding GM’s failure to fix the defect that were disclosed in various investigations in 2014, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and congressional committees.
            That included a statement to the press in 2005 acknowledging the issue but claiming that it did not pose a safety matter.

            By no later than 2012, GM realized that the faulty ignition switches could cut off power to air bags, thus endangering front-seat passengers in a bad accident.

            But instead of disclosing the issue, GM “concealed the defect from NHTSA and the public, taking the matter ‘offline,’ outside the normal recall process, so that the company could buy time to package, present, explain and manage the issue,” according to the settlement documents to which GM stipulated.

            Barra, who did not know about the defect until days before it was publicly disclosed in February 2014, dismissed about 15 employees after an internal investigation blamed those workers for failing to disclose or fix the deadly flaw.”

            There should be GM employees charged personally and criminally, and the entire GM bankruptcy, whereby GM misrepresented its then known liabilities to the federal court at the time it filed its petition for bankruptcy, allowing it to divide its future liabilities into “old GM” and “new GM,” should be completely reversed, as their failure to reveal such highly significant, material and deadly acts was clearly tantamount to fraud.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            p.s. – I like you, SCE, and you’re usually logical & fair-minded, based on my past readings of your comments/input, but you’re absolutely wrong in trying to claim that this was negligence rather than a deliberate, knowing cover up, that lasted for many years, on GM’s part.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            JOHN MATRIX: You’re a funny guy Sully, I like you. That’s why I’m going to kill you last.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            As I’ve pointed out (obviously in vain), the drivers in many of the GM crashes were at fault. Nobody expects equipment to work 100% of the time, and the incidents would have appeared to be flukes long before a pattern emerged.

            It’s not as if there was a high overall failure rate of the ignitions. However, the issue with recalls is not the rate of failure but the consequences of failure, and it takes awhile before such issues are evident in cases such as this.

            All of that is quite different from VW purposely designing software to defeat a test. Either VW could not figure out how to comply or else it did not want to spend the money; most likely, it’s the latter.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Pch101 – How can it be the fault of the driver for their defective/bad ignition, even if they were drunk at the time, with a pound of crap and other keys on the key ring?? Neither are automatically a death sentence.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Nobody who understands this stuff expects airbags to deploy 100% of the time.

            Undoubtedly, there were many, many, many more crashes involving these cars that had their airbags deploy as they should.

            It takes awhile to figure out that those that fail to deploy are part of a pattern that is tied to a design defect and not just a fluke. It’s not as if most of the cars are failing most of the time; the failure rate was low.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Where airbags deployed, great. Not a problem. Hopefully those got totalled and never get back on the road. But where airbags failed to deploy and the ignition was in the ACC position right before the crash or during, that’s when there’s a problem and a case for manslaughter. Of course in many types of crashes, the airbags aren’t designed to deployed, but that doesn’t mean a defective ignition wasn’t the root cause.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You don’t really understand this stuff. Continuing to go over it would just be a waste of time.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Whateves. I’ve spent more time at crash scenes than anyone here. You’re backing away for a reason.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You’re almost as impossible to educate as BAFO. I’ve gone over this with you more than once, and you’re simply not worth the effort.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            In as many words, you could’ve proved me wrong. But you’ve got zero. Just hot air. Your argument is no better than any of BAFO’s. Neither of will ever admit to being wrong. And you’re wrong. Again!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Just because you don’t comprehend the explanation does not mean that it wasn’t provided.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Thank you. More hot air. You should pilot eco friendly hot-air balloon rides.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You have a lot more in common with BAFO than either one of you would care to admit.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            It’s amazing how this was going on for so many years but somehow became such an issue last year with everybody dying at the mercy of GM’s faulty ignition switch. Why did this not happen before 2014? If it was such a big deal why no mention before? Like Toyota GM got major news press about there faulty part that wasn’t made right from the beginning and payed the piper in fines. End of story.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            > JOHN MATRIX: You’re a funny guy Sully, I like you. That’s why I’m going to kill you last.

            “Remember Sully when I promised I’d kill you last? I lied.”

        • 0 avatar
          Geekcarlover

          Can we split the difference and call it criminal negligence. Early on, did they know there was a problem and try to cover it up? Possibly, but not likely. ( Emphasis “early on”) Did they create a system where problems such as this would take forever and a day to be noticed by outsiders? (Buying public, regulators) Hell yes.
          Going back to the days of John Delorian, if On A Clear Day You Can See General Motors is to be believed, GM has had multiple internal firewalls to keep such information from getting out.

        • 0 avatar
          anomaly149

          As a note folks like to forget, per the timeline, all new cars were being produced with good parts circa 2006. (and only those cars that received replacement parts from the bank of parts produced before 2006 could go from “good” to “bad”, a somewhat rare repair.)

          I’d call the engineer who forced that change through the backdoor against Engineering Change Control a decent guy for helping to achieve that.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      And Toyota knowingly covered up lies about power figures on many of there 4 and 6 cylinder engines until called out, didn’t recall the faulty equipped gas pedals in there death trap cars until NHTA made them do so and to this day cover up the horrendous frame rot problems on there trucks by bribing customers to keep there mouth shut while they usher them into a shiny new Toyota truck or replace the frame with another piece of crap that will rust out in another 5 years.

      This is the very definition of corrupt, captured government, not only failing, but sabotaging the citizenry.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Diesel cars were already on life support in the US, with VW practically carrying the flag by itself. This might be the final nail in the ze coffin.

  • avatar
    Car-los

    oh dear, now that Martin Winterkorn has just been reappointed as CEO of VW…

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Assuming the “defeat devices” are neutralized, does anybody know how it will impact vehicle operation, fuel mileage, reliability, longevity, and maintenance and repair costs?

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      No one except VW. Because no one has been operating these the way VW rigged them to run through the test.

      We’ll have to wait a few months to find out. At a minimum, they’ll probably drop a couple MPG at cruise. Ones with urea tanks will probably use more of the tank – currently drivers are only topping off about 1/3 the tank at an oil change.

      Questions about the reliability of the exhaust components are all going to be on VW. By law there’s a minimum 8 year / 80,000 mile warranty on emissions control parts. Hopefully by the time the last TDI Golf Sportwagen reaches the 8 year mark, VW will have had time to deal with any issues that arise, and work any bugs out of the replacement parts. We might see additional recalls to beef up cheap components that start failing under actual use.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        ” …no one has been operating these the way VW rigged them to run through the test.”

        How do we know this? How many tests have been conducted where a diesel-powered car has been tested or evaluated for emissions while being driven around under real-world conditions?

        • 0 avatar

          http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/in_use_compliance_letter.htm

          According to this California designed a test to bypass the VW defeat in May and concluded testing in July. So not long enough to know long term durability but enough to confirm the cars were designed to fake emission tests. My guess is there must be some reason for it. Mileage may be one but my guess is medium to long term durability and warranty costs are the real issue.
          Also VW admitted to the CARB board after being confronted with the issue that they were designing the cars to shut off parts of the emission system once the cars left a test facility.

        • 0 avatar
          Lack Thereof

          We know this because CARB has been driving test cars around the streets, monitoring how they operate outside of the test chamber.

          Once the ECU is convinced that it is not being tested, the Urea injection system (on cars that have it) or the NOx trap (on cars that don’t have urea injection) all but shut down, and stay mostly shut down for the rest of the drive. NOx emissions stop being controlled.

          Comparable diesels on the market in the US right now all tend to have recurring maintenance/repair issues relating to their NOx reducing systems. VW has been relatively unique in avoiding those problems, up until now, but we’ve just discovered that most VW’s have been driving around with their emissions systems functionally turned off 90% of the time. Everything we know about the system’s reliability goes out the window.

          The major speculation is that once the VW’s have been reprogrammed, the same sort of problems that BMW and FCA diesels have been suffering from will start to show up in VWs as well.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    ………dealers may still sell the cars as new or used, but owners may not be able to register or renew registrations for the cars until the recall repair work is complete……….

    Is there a new recall procedure since the first one was a bust? If not, it means the owners of the cars will not be able to renew the registration on a practically new car? Seems to me the full burden of compliance should fall on VW not the poor saps who drank TDI flavored KoolAid.

    • 0 avatar

      That one is interesting I assume only CARB states (like here in CT) would block the registration. Here in CT you need to pass emissions to get a renewal on the reg. My guess is it will fall to VW and they will get ever increasing fines the longer it takes to get the cars back. I would expect to see free oil change coupons with the recall notice after a couple of months then escalating to flat out cash rebates to avoid the fines.

      • 0 avatar
        revjasper

        My little brother has a 2014 Jetta SW TDI in California. The registration is up right before his wife’s due date, so I can imagine that her wrath will be mighty.

        If the state blocks the renewal of registration without actually testing the car, I’d imagine that the state opens itself up to legal consequences for loss of use of the vehicle. If they test the cars, then fail them all, it’s now VW’s issue to fix it under the emission system warranty or the owner will eat/sue for repairs.

        This is going to take a decade of court cases at several levels to get sorted out. Pass the popcorn!

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Geeze Louise….. What psychopaths. The level of premeditation is stunning. I wonder what they were doing in the EU?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      US standards have been more stringent.

    • 0 avatar
      jthorner

      According to The Guardian newspaper, cheating on these tests is probably considered “business as usual”. It is amazing what criminality and immorality people can talk themselves into being ok with.

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/14/nine-out-of-10-new-diesel-cars-in-breach-of-eu-pollution-rules-report-finds

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The claim made in the report is that the European testing regime is inadequate, not that the automakers are cheating.

        “The reason for the continuing high emissions from new cars is an ineffective system for testing vehicles that deliver impressive reductions of emissions in laboratory tests but fail to replicate this performance when driven on the road.”

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Full progtard meltdown in the EU has been happening for quite a while now…

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    If these cars cannot be made EPA compliant, has anyone calculated the cost of a ½ million car buyback?

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      I’m sure they can be made compliant for less than the cost of a buy back. The question is if they just need a bigger/more active NOx trap or if they’re going to need to retrofit AdBlue injection. The latter would probably cost something like $5K/car if I had to guess offhand.

      • 0 avatar
        qfrog

        What you have to wonder is did VW/Audi calculate the cost of being caught and do they have an estimate of what the remediation parts and labor per unit is likely to cost. Sure they’ll snub the dealerships and keep the parts prices and labor times low so on the parts the dealer makes very little and the techs doing the work are working on goodguy time to keep the impact to shareholder value low.

        I expect there will be a recall and a bunch of parts will be retrofitted. Not the first time for this sort of thing at least for Audi. Does anybody remember Audi replacing most of the suspension on the early 8N TT models? VW/Audi will pay a fine and revise the cars to meet emissions requirements. The world will move on and in time everybody will forget about this because nobody died and it was just another auto MFG playing it fast and loose to deliver what their customers wanted. GM on the other hand played it fast and loose and killed a more than a few people in the process of saving money.

      • 0 avatar
        natrat

        yea and that happens at the dealer level, ha ha. If this is the new version of audi’s unintended acceleration phenom of the 80s i’d be ok with that. I would prefer all these crooked corporate fuckers and politicians be drowned in a pit but that not gonna happen any time soon

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        There has been no mention of the exact model years involved, but the 2015s will already all have Urea injection. Older Golfs and Jettas don’t. It will be interesting to see.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I believe it’s 2009 to 2015. That’d pretty much be the 2.0-liter Common Rail Diesel, as well as the new one in the 2015 models, and probably the 2012 and later Passat (which has had AdBlue).

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            What’s funny, is that it effects the DEF cars too. I can see the older cars cheating, but why on the ones with DEF. This will be very expensive to VW. I wonder how much US sales are even worth to them.

          • 0 avatar

            If I’m reading correctly they were adding extra adblue during the testing and cutting it back on the road.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The allegations cover roughly 482,000 diesel passenger cars sold in the United States since 2008.

          Affected diesel models include:
          • Jetta (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
          • Beetle (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
          • Audi A3 (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
          • Golf (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
          • Passat (Model Years 2014-2015)

          http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/DFC8E33B5AB162B985257EC40057813B

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          Supposedly will not affect 2015s. BTW, I drive a ’13 MB E350 BlueTec and I’ve been quite happy with the car so far. First diesel I’ve owned.

  • avatar

    May you live in interesting times…..

    My 2012 TDi is going off lease mid October. I call VW Credit and ask if they will finance the buy out. In the past, BMW did this with a phone call and fedex, with a much higher nut. I thought it would be simple.

    VW credit tells me they can’t make a direct loan in NY, so I have to go to the Dealership. This is Wednesday. Buyout is 14k contract and I’m drastically over mileage….which I don’t mind, because I knew this going in, and planned to buy out.

    Today, Saturday, I go to the dealer. Meet with a decent enough salesman. After discussion, he tells me that they can’t sell any TDi cars, new or used. (Everything TDi is stashed in the very back of the lot, and all the posters are gone) Worse, they can’t even discuss finance in my case, as it would be a sale. I ask if he’d do a bank other than VW Credit. He says, no, they can’t touch anything TDi right now. It clearly pained him to send me out the door with nothing, and agreed that in normal circumstances, he’d place a buyout application with VW Credit….which in my circumstances would be approved.

    Wow. I expected to buy a science experiment, but didn’t think it would be declared unfit for commerce in the USA !

    VW Credit is closed Saturday, so I wonder … Can they even sell me the car at the end of the note ? VW Leasing is still VW, I’m sure….

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      Seems like you may need to consult with an attorney if VW is unable to meet its contractual obligations and allow you to purchase the car.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Perhaps they can extend your lease at a rate based on the car’s residual value and expected depreciation over the next year. Mind you, its residual value a year from now may be scrap value.

    • 0 avatar
      John

      So VW didn’t just decide to screw the EPA, and all Americans who breath air, they decided screwing their dealers and salesmen was fine too.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        VAG may have come out ahead. Say the cost of fixing the emissions system is X per car for parts and R&D. If the fine, Y, divided by the number of cars is less – they win.

        Personally I find the whole thing hilarious. US diesel standards are unreasonable and sell in small enough numbers that it doesn’t matter from a pollution standpoint. Since 2008, at least 50 million vehicles have been built and sold in the US, 500,000 diesels is 1% of that figure. Fiscally it does not make sense to pay for restrictive emissions modifications for 1% of sales in a seven year period. Maybe watermelons should get their heads out of their asses and come up with a workable standard.

        • 0 avatar
          jthorner

          I think this is the beginning of the end for diesel powered car production. Note that real world testing in Europe is saying that 90% of diesel vehicles there radically exceed their emissions standards in actual use.

          As hybrids have improved, the cost:benefit logic for diesels has become increasingly on the ropes. No we know that many diesels were meeting emissions standards by cheating. We also know why companies like Honda, Mazda and Tata (small trucks) all retreated from their promise to build and market diesel passenger vehicles for the US.

          Draw the curtain on this technology.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with you on hybrids but its only because diesel technology is so hated by emissions zealots. Hybrids, as far as they have come, are still more complex than a diesel counterpart. If automakers are cheating it might be because the standard is set to high. A good way to kill the technology is to ask to much out of it at once’ which is exactly what they wanted.

        • 0 avatar
          Lack Thereof

          EPA fines are PER CAR, not per issue like NHTSA fines. And the fine for intentionally subverting the test is upwards of $30,000 each.

          There’s no way this was an accounting decision, unless they forsee some extreme warranty costs from overused NOx traps.

          Also worth noting that GM, BMW, FCA etc have all come out with light-duty diesels that meet the standards (or at least come close enough to convince CARB that they’re not sandbagging on the test). Now we know how the VW diesels have been outperforming them.

      • 0 avatar
        Geekcarlover

        Salesmen aren’t people. They don’t need to breath. They are amphibians who just need to sit in their tub of goo to regenerate overnight.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @speedlaw: I know you like the car, but personally, I’d suggest you just walk away at the end of your lease. The TDI will be radioactive at resale, and nobody yet knows how the recall fix will detune your car. Making it compliant could kill the driveability and MPG.

      Either way, I’m sorry to hear your tale of woe. The dealers must be ready to strangle VW.

  • avatar
    moorewr

    I test-drove a GSW TSI S manual today and I LOVED it.

    The salesman informed me that they have already issued a stop slae for all new and used diesels and he can’t sell me the car.

    FML.

    • 0 avatar
      moorewr

      So the scope clearly includes AdBlue cars – there’s adblue in 2015 GSWs.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Yes, there is. On my Golf SportWagen, the AdBlue fill orifice is behind the fuel door, right next to the fuel orifice. I’ve seen it other places, though…on the Touareg TDI, it’s in the spare-tire wheelwell somewhere. I’m just above 8,000 miles, so I was expecting to fill mine up soon, anyway.

  • avatar
    carguy

    “but owners may not be able to register or renew registrations for the cars until the recall repair work is complete”

    Bring on the lawsuits.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    A few points of fact to those comparing this to the GM ignition fiasco.

    1) The EPA has said that fines could potentially be up to $18B. No amount has been set yet. GM and the government tussled and negotiated for a year on how big the fine would be.

    2) The GM thing is bad and horrible and was a matter of concealing a problem long after they should have fixed it. Horrible indeed. By contrast, VW very intentionally cheated on the fundamental premise of their entire “Clean Diesel” push and based most of their US marketing around their supposed technology leadership in this area. GM never marketed itself as making “The World’s Longest Lasting Ignition Switch”.

    Other thoughts: This cheat seems indicative of a high level VW policy and would have to reach far up and down the chain of command. What other emissions and safety test standards is VW cheating on? Have they also been gaming European regulations where they sell many times more vehicles than they do in the USA? How much of this kind of corrupt behavior is underneath the recent boardroom dramas at VW?

    • 0 avatar

      The GM ignition switch issue was a failure of GM and their vendor’s quality control programs. That was compounded by a GM engineer signing off of parts changes without changing the part #, making tracking down the problem difficult (another QC failure). While the engineer in question might have been covering his behind, and while GM may have not wanted to find a problem when accident reports started coming in, it doesn’t seem to have the same deliberate, from the get go, intent as VW trying to game the EPA tests.

      It will be interesting to see how this washes out vis a vis how the gubmint handled the Toyota unintended acceleration and GM ignition switch issue.

      The coverup is said to be worse than the crime, but in this case, VW was trying to cheat. The Dept of Justice could be brought in, because even if the EPA regulations don’t themselves have criminal penalties, there seems to be some likelihood of fraud.

      This wasn’t a single engineer doing some CYA work. The only way I can see higher ups at VW not being implicated is if the engine group was trying to keep them in the dark about not meeting pollution standards.

      • 0 avatar

        I always saw the GM debacle as they got cheap. Too Cheap. At some point, they figured it out, so fixed it, but didn’t leave traces.

        At every level, “protection of one’s phony baloney job” was key. Nothing rose, and if it did, it did in a very limited way.

        Meanwhile, GM Legal fights the suits, one on one. Some folks have a good attorney and expert, some less so.

        Kind of like not treating an illness that progresses.

        VW, just outright scammed-no one at GM ever intended for a switch to fail.

        Oh, and I like the car quite a bit.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        “The only way I can see higher ups at VW not being implicated is if the engine group was trying to keep them in the dark about not meeting pollution standards.”

        Agreed, but that’s hard to comprehend going on for 7 model years. This will be big.

        • 0 avatar
          mechaman

          Somehow the ‘current administration’ will be blamed for this by some folk. Eventually these same folks will find a way to blame the ‘current administration’ for New Coke, the Edsel, the Hindenburg, the Crucifixion, and that snake/apple deal.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            Nice straw man argument.

            Don’t worry, according to the NYTimes, they refuse to take the blame for anything:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/18/world/finger-pointing-but-few-answers-after-a-syria-solution-fails.html

            “”It looks like the White House would like to blame its critics for its own operational illiteracy,” Frederic Hof, a former special adviser for transition in Syria under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told Business Insider over email.”

            “I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other administration employ ‘the devil made me do it’ argument to excuse and explain its own shortcomings.
            http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-syria-policy-2015-9

  • avatar
    buzzyrpm

    Now it makes sense why Mazda wasn’t able to bring their diesel engine to the US. They were playing by the rules!

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      This is probably true. I bet all the other diesel sellers are shaking in their shoes right now. Revelations in Europe show that practically nobody is building diesels that operate ‘clean’ when they aren’t being tested under specific protocols.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Cj

        Could you post some links about that? Very interesting.

        • 0 avatar
          buzzyrpm

          Mazda Delays Diesel Again As It Can’t Get The Engine Right

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/dalebuss/2014/01/09/mazda-delays-diesel-again-as-it-cant-get-the-engine-right/

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          tedward,

          Here’s a recent story, but I know I read another one with some even higher numbers of cheating by EU diesel sellers:

          http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/14/nine-out-of-10-new-diesel-cars-in-breach-of-eu-pollution-rules-report-finds

          • 0 avatar
            Rudolph

            Hmmm. I can still visualize the black smoke from the exhaust of my former 1968½ 220D under heavy load at 70mph on PA’s hills in Western PA •
            Low S fuel was not available then •

            For the present , I will stick with the 2002 Golf TDI 1.9L purchased new and well maintained by my da-in-law •

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          @ tedward

          The European fuel economy tests are conducted by accredited so-called independent labs, much like their half-assed type approval tests. Mercedes was picked out last year as the biggest gamer on fuel economy by TransportEnvironment, and in doing so, they mention that the pollution test gaming by using a special schedule was old news! Apparently all this is regarded as some sort of sport.

          http://www.autoblog.com/2014/11/09/mercedes-named-number-1-cheat-on-europes-fuel-economy-test/

          And this PDF which shows how much more NOX diesel cars are emitting compared to regulation:

          http://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/2015_09_Five_facts_about_diesel_FINAL.pdf

          This an interesting read.

          I assume it is German hubris to accept pollution regulations which are almost impossible to meet, and then simply cynically cheat. The EPA seems to be more awake than the Euro legislators, and also actually checks real world results on the NOX front.

          http://www.transportenvironment.org/news/diesels-choking-us-cheap-badly-configured-exhaust-treatment

          Explains why I still get eyelid inflammation when visiting the UK, despite vehicles no longer emitting plumes of black smoke. I hate diesel, because this is the only allergy I have, and happens every time I go depending on locale.

          Note that VW’s engines whether just NOX converter equipped or with AdBlue still fail the NOX limits, mostly under load like going up hills or under sudden hard acceleration.

          These guys have fed the public with a line of untruths, especially when you consider that the current diesel limits have been in force since 2007, and Euro6 is only just coming into force in Europe. It’s not like they were told to meet new limits just last week. They can’t even meet NOX standards for pre-2007 without the cheat. Pathetic.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The US limits on diesel NOx are considerably lower than what is allowed in Europe, even under the new Euro 6 standard.

            The test that you referred to above is for fuel economy, not NOx emissions. And yes, everybody in Europe games the test because the testing rules in Europe provide plenty of opportunities for gaming. That does not mean that Mercedes is cheating.

            The solution is to create a test that is difficult to game. And as difficult as it is for the average TTAC poster to grasp, on-road tests create opportunities for gaming.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Pch101,
            I do think you are a little confused with the information you put forward. It appears you must research so you don’t mislead other contributors on TTAC. But, I expect nothing else from you.

            The US and Euro diesel standards are pretty much going to align with EuroVI.

            The problem is the US has lower quality diesel fuel. This does create a situation where the is US required to find different engineering solutions.

            It not the standards the US uses that makes it awkward for diesel in the US, but the lower quality diesel fuel.

            I thought you would of known this.

          • 0 avatar
            Rudolph

            “I hate diesel, because this is the only allergy I have ….”

            An understandable dislike •

            You perhaps are too young to have been stopped in the summer behind a Greyhound bus powered by the GMC 6-71 2cycle diesel , during the mid 50s •

            One could almost get a lawful “high” from the fumes •

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      If that is true then it shows Mazda was both sensible and ethical.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Chances are that with all the reverse-engineering that’s going on in the auto industry, Mazda may have found out through testing vehicles they had bought on the open market, that VW (and maybe others like BMW and Fiatsler) had been cheating.

        I’m sure that in time we will all know more as other findings come to light. This ain’t over by a long shot.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Hence why they struggle.

  • avatar
    manny_c44

    After reading a bit it seems this is common practice amongst diesel manufacturers. Here is a link to an abstract:

    http://www.theicct.org/news/press-release-new-icct-study-shows-real-world-exhaust-emissions-modern-diesel-cars-seven-times

    Maybe VW is only the first target?

    I know a lot of tdi guys dream of ripping out their egr and dpf systems and squeezing in a big turbo…I don’t think the community will be too upset overall.

    • 0 avatar

      It will be interesting to see. Reading the info it’s possible to meet the test but it makes it a lot harder to make it reliable and efficient. So there seems to be a 50/50 shot the other makers are doing the same thing. I have been a little hesitant to embrace the new FCA diesels as much as a Ram 1500 diesel would be an ideal car for me. I think this will make me wait even longer to see how this plays out.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      CARB did the test side-by-side with a BMW 2.0l diesel, and the BMW behaved the same on the dyno as off. So at least we know THEY aren’t cheating.

      The VW seems to have been singled out for examination because it was doing so much worse in real-world use than the other small diesels on the market.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    VW should be forced to repurchase every one of these vehicles from the current owners at full retail value. If the current owner was the original owner, they should be reimbursed the original full cost of the car plus all taxes and other fees paid just like a Lemon Law Repurchase goes. Nothing else would come close to compensating the owners who were tricked and lied to.

    If someone has one of these vehicles which they purchased used, they should have 100% of their up front costs reimbursed.

    Not pro-rated, not in the form of a voucher, but reimbursed in cash. VW perpetrated a massive criminal conspiracy and the owners are one class of financial victims. In fact, I wonder if treble damages might apply.

    The problem looks even bigger in Europe with tens of millions of diesel cars on the road. It looks like programming cars to cheat on the test is in fact standard practice!

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/14/nine-out-of-10-new-diesel-cars-in-breach-of-eu-pollution-rules-report-finds

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This to me is nonsense.

    Why target VW or any other manufacturer when the EPA itself is responsible for far worse pollution emissions from any GDI engine.

    I do believe the EPA is hypocritical in this case. Safety related issues where a likelihood and consequence of a fatality is increased hugely I do understand the NHSTA making a move.

    But who oversees the EPA and fines them for GDI engines that emit up to 1 000 time more particulates than a diesel?

    This is bullshit from the government, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Remove some of the authority from the EPA and make them accountable as well as the manufacturers.

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Some cut and pastes, with link attached;
    “It is important to understand that there are currently no particulate emission standards for gasoline engines.”

    “Both ORNL and Hulac accurately characterize the particulate emissions from early GDI engines, which were generally high, and the impact that particulate emissions can have on public health. ORNL does excellent work, but this time they made a fundamental mistake by focusing only on the early GDI engines.”

    http://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/GFPworkingpaper2011.pdf

    Look at the graph on the 3rd slide of the Powerpoint presentation, notice where the DPF diesel is positioned in relation to the GDI;

    http://www.aqmd.gov/docs/default-source/technology-research/ultrafine-particles-conference/session6_5_mattimaricq.pdf?sfvrsn=2

    Vehicle tests show that without the use of gasoline particulate filters (GPF), more particles are emitted from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines than diesels. On the road, GDI vehicles may therefore exceed future European emissions limits – the Euro 6 standard.

    http://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/GDI%20Briefing_final_T&E.pdf

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    As I stated, The EPA should be monitored and never held accountable.

    What a fncked up system, or is there some lobbying as well to prevent the added cost of particulate filters on GDI engines, or some other costly engineering solution.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This to me is nonsense.

    Why target VW or any other manufacturer when the EPA itself is responsible for far worse pollution emissions from any GDI engine.

    I do believe the EPA is hypocritical in this case. Safety related issues where a likelihood and consequence of a fatality is increased hugely I do understand the NHSTA making a move.

    But who oversees the EPA and fines them for GDI engines that emit up to 1 000 time more particulates than a diesel?

    This is bullsh!t from the government, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Remove some of the authority from the EPA and make them accountable as well as the manufacturers.

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Some cut and pastes, with link attached;
    “It is important to understand that there are currently no particulate emission standards for gasoline engines.”

    “Both ORNL and Hulac accurately characterize the particulate emissions from early GDI engines, which were generally high, and the impact that particulate emissions can have on public health. ORNL does excellent work, but this time they made a fundamental mistake by focusing only on the early GDI engines.”

    http://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/GFPworkingpaper2011.pdf

    Look at the graph on the 3rd slide of the Powerpoint presentation, notice where the DPF diesel is positioned in relation to the GDI;

    http://www.aqmd.gov/docs/default-source/technology-research/ultrafine-particles-conference/session6_5_mattimaricq.pdf?sfvrsn=2

    Vehicle tests show that without the use of gasoline particulate filters (GPF), more particles are emitted from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines than diesels. On the road, GDI vehicles may therefore exceed future European emissions limits – the Euro 6 standard.

    http://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/GDI%20Briefing_final_T&E.pdf

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    As I stated, The EPA should be monitored and never held accountable.

    What a fncked up system, or is there some lobbying as well to prevent the added cost of particulate filters on GDI engines, or some other costly engineering solution.

    • 0 avatar

      Al while some of what you say is true there is a reason for it. Diesel and particulate has been a known problem for decades. A friend of mine was in intern at DEP (CT environmental agency) back in the late 90’s and he mentioned then that there was going to be testing and standards for it in the future. In all likelihood the problem was known since the 70’s or 80’s we didn’t do much about it in most states until the mid 2000’s. GDI was developed in the 90’s and wasn’t widely deployed until the mid 2000’s Europe didn’t really look at the issue until 2009 and it appears no one it the US really knew about the problem until the last 5 years. My guess is you will see a particulate test in the next 5-10 years it just hasn’t made it thru the bureaucracy yet.

      It’s not a fight against diesel it just a matter of slowly developing standards.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        mopar4wd,
        The diesel tech you speak of is ‘old’. That graph illustrates the difference between DPF diesel and ‘old’ diesel, ie, even EuroIV.

        The issue is the GDI engine tech needs to catch up with diesel for emissions.

        This has been a known problem for at least a decade with GDI. Work is being done to address the high particulate emissions from GDI, but so far the simplest way to remove particulates is via a particulate filter.

        The graph is also a real measure of particulates, the data was collected from vehicles driving on an Autobahn. This gives a far better picture than government testing to meet emission standards.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        mopar4wd,
        Sorry, I should of added I do understand the need for gasoline to catch up, but you would of thought a standard would of been introduced in 2016 onwards. The reason for this was the last major changes the EPA made has been after the identification of the high particulate emissions from the GDI engine.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAFO – “Why target VW…”

      GDI emissions will have to comply, same as diesels, but this action is about VW’s egregious fraud and criminal activity.

      GDI emissions will be dealt with, but it’s a whole other subject matter.

      And it’ll be easier to just do away with GDI altogether, rather than adding on diesel-type emission controls that clearly defeat the purpose of GDI innovation.

      Diesel emission controls also defeat the purpose of small diesels. Consumers are better off with gasoline (small) engines, minus GDI, economically and for cleaner air standards too.

      But what did you mean by “…or (target) any other manufacturer..”? Are you suggesting sweeping GM’s ignition fraud/crime under the ‘rug’ too, (same as VW’s fraud/crime) because “GDI particulate emissions” is a bigger story (to BAFO)??

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Volkswagen diesel, the official car of the New England Patriots

  • avatar

    Is this a bad time to offer a 2013 Beetle TDI to my TTAC friends?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This sort of thing doesn’t happen with EVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      SCE to AUX,
      You are correct.

      We will not realise the future EV cleanup bill for a little while yet.

      The electronics/electrical industry isn’t very green either.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> The electronics/electrical industry isn’t very green either.

        Probably more electronics in an ICE car – and they have batteries too. Oil changes, particulate filters, oil filters, transmission fluid, faster consumption of brake linings, catalytic converters, belts to replace…

    • 0 avatar

      It will be interesting to see how they do in the end. I was thinking about this and batteries for grid tie the other day. Our future grids will need some type of energy storage and batteries are often the best for these. But will it be economical and ecologically sound if the batteries have a rate of failure like a cheap power tools. The electronics present little problem as they can be built well we just generally go for the lowest common denominator for most consumer electronics. But batteries are slightly different. If we can build them to have a ling life and recyclable we will be fine but right now we will have to wait and see. (I do realize there are long life batteries out there we have some iron edisons at works that are 90 years old and can still hold a little charge but that not really a current technology)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Hybrid and EV batteries are required to have an 8 year warranty. All of the ones currently on the road will last much longer than the cheap power tools you reference.

        The hybrid traction battery in our driveway has lasted 11.5 years, with no observable degradation. The starter battery didn’t last that but I have every reason to believe that the hybrid battery in my Prius will outlast most automatic transmissions.

        If you buy an 2001-2003 Prius, you need to make sure the battery has been rebuilt or replaced at Nome point during the life of the car — but remember that these are 13+ year old beater cars. The 2004+ cars have bulletproof batteries that last as long as any drivetrain component in any passenger car.

        If you’re concerned about this issue, just wait for the 2nd generation from each manufacturer. The Nissan Leaf received an updated battery in 2013 and will receive another battery update for 2016, the 2nd gen 200-mile car will presumably have an updated battery when it is released in 2017/2018. If you’re concerned about battery durability, wait exactly the same way you would for problems to be shaken out of a gas car. And remember the federally mandated warranty.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    Whenever I read some story like this where some company does something crooked to save money (It’s ALWAYS about the money), I think of the people who actually think that the “market forces” will correct anything bad/negligent/justplainevil that companies do, and that removing regulations will “fix everything”. Go to China and Russia and see what a mess there is because they didn’t have any enviromental regulations and what it might have been like here without the EPA. It’s not perfect, but just get behind an old car and choke and wonder what the air would be like today without regulation and emissions standards.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      We have these cars because of government regulations. No imbecile-guided spiraling CAFE would equate to no effort to build ‘clean’ diesels for absurd regulations. People would drive 30 mpg, port injected, low maintenance, 300,000 mile-life, affordable cars and be happy. Leave car design to market forces and this particular indignity would have never happened. We’re about 25 years past when the least competent car company in the US caught up with the emissions standards that cleaned up the air and made it easy to breath. We should have disbanded the EPA then. We wouldn’t have diesel cars, or an aging fleet, or so few people ‘participating in the job market.’ I love how statists create problems and then blame them on freedom.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I realize this is a problem and VAG will probably be punished in some way, but this is a time when reason needs to shine though. Instead of punishing owners of TDIs and turning them into victims of a scam, exempt all of the cars already titled. The amount of cars involved is so small compared to the number of cars sold in the last seven model years, this really doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. I realize expecting a government entity to be reasonable is grounds for a sanity hearing and also that said agency has employees appointed by the worst presidential administration in US history and is therefore questionable itself, but please nobody picked up in the increased pollution for *seven* years because *it doesn’t matter*.

    • 0 avatar
      jthorner

      Yeah, this is all about the “current administration”.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Ironically, it was picked up because of discrepancies measured by a European clean air group asking their American counterparts to prove that indeed, that diesel cars’ emissions could be clean. The BMW X5 passed but the VWs did not, and one thing led to another.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-19/volkswagen-emissions-cheating-found-by-curious-clean-air-group

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      They are 1% of cars sold since 2009 and they produce 50x more NOx than they should. Doesn’t that mean that are producing 50% of the NOx generated by all cars sold since 2009?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Climate data is being collected all of the time, why didn’t a bump show up in a NOx chart in the 2010-12 period in a specific region where these were sold? If this really is as bad as suggested, someone would have detected a rise in NOx prior to Mr. Kodjak’s discovery. They didn’t because either the data was not statistically significant for whatever reason or climate scientists were too incompetent to pick up on it.

        “said Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, a research group. “This is cutting corners.”

        It was Mr. Kodjak’s group, in conducting research on diesel vehicles, that first noticed the discrepancy between Volkswagen’s emissions in testing laboratories and on the road. They brought the issue to the attention of the E.P.A., which conducted further tests on the cars, and ultimately discovered the use of the defeat device software.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/19/business/volkswagen-is-ordered-to-recall-nearly-500000-vehicles-over-emissions-software.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

  • avatar
    trackratmk1

    One of the things I haven’t seen mentioned is CAFE and CARB compliance AFTER this gets sorted out. Chances of these cars getting the same EPA mpg ratings after the recalls are slim to none. If they retroactively adjust the numbers for all 500,000 diesels sold here since 2009, it will have an effect on VW’s corporate average score. I believe over 10% of VW’s product mix is diesel cars. This will certainly have an effect on those numbers, possibly leading to more penalties, or at the very least, expensive engineering changes to future products for compliance sake.

  • avatar
    trackratmk1

    If I were VW of America, I’d be sending nasty grams to parent company VWAG and letting them foot this bill.

    Most people don’t realize that VWoA is simply a marketing and importation company, and aren’t responsible for ANY product engineering. VWAG engineers and builds the cars, then sells them to their local markets for distribution through their retail network.

    Chances are good that very few people working for VWoA are complicit in this, save for those dictating US regulations to engineers in Wolfsburg and elsewhere.

  • avatar
    JD23

    This may be the proverbial turd in the punchbowl for BDMW enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    LOL, the level of righteous indignation here is laughable. I’m sure you’ll all be supporting the campaign to remove all hellcats from the road, then V8s, then pickups sold a suburban grocery getters all in the name of reduced emissions.

    Yeah, VW gamed the system, so did North American manufacturers by pimping SUVs then pickups as a way to get around CAFE standards.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m surprised that VW did this. What does it gain them? Did they really think they would get away with it? I would rat my bosses out for something like this. Still I shouldn’t be calling the kettle black, because I and millions of others have at one time or another modified a car in violation of some rule. We can justify it somehow, but the matter is we are all cheating.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    For the few people still waiting to hear “VW’s side of the story”, here is a quote:

    ” The feature, which the EPA called a “defeat device”, masks the true emissions only during testing. When the cars are on the road they emit as much as 40 times the level of pollutants allowed under clean air rules meant to ensure public health is protected, Giles said.

    ‘We have admitted to it to the regulator. It is true. We are actively cooperating with the regulator,’ a spokesman for Volkswagen said on Sunday.”

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Often the people who become senior decision makers at large companies do so not because of their personal integrity, but because of their lack of personal integrity. Forbes magazine went so far as to publish an article entitled “Why (Some) Psychopaths Make Great CEOs”.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-some-psychopaths-make-great-ceos/

    Some would have you believe that modern CEOs are a genius creative class boldly building the even grander temple of capitalism. But, those of us who have known them realize that some of well dressed criminals.

    Check out the recent scandal at Toshiba where the top people were aggressively cooking the financial books for years (ala Enron).

    Anywhere you have actual human beings you will find corruption, greed and cheating. The simple minded notion many people have bought into that government=bad and company=good is wrong on both counts. Either type of organization is easily corrupted.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Quite true.

      It can happen at churches, charities, school boards, the Secret Service, the IRS, sports teams big and small, the International Olympic Committee, and even within the legal system meant to prevent and investigate corruption.

      A dear friend of mine once said “the church would be perfect if it wasn’t for the people” – referring in part to himself and me.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Plenty of comments on most every aspect of this story. My question:

    How could not one single VW employee that knew of this EVER have come forward?

    It’s a HUGE organization.

    Bewildering.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      That’s an excellent question, one which I think we’ll see answered over time. Conspiracies are very, very hard to maintain over time.

      Some of the culprits may successfully hide forever, but many won’t.

      Perhaps only a small cadre of engineers & technicians knew of this scheme, and nobody asked the hard questions for years? That’s hard to imagine, but possible, I suppose.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        We may find that there were engineers who lied to senior management because they could not meet the budget and/or schedule. They may have found this to be the easy way out.

        This incident is so brazen that it’s hard to believe that anyone at the top of the company could have expected to get away with this. It comes off as being a bit amateurish; this is the sort of thing that would inevitably be caught at some point.

    • 0 avatar
      jthorner

      Answer: Corporate culture. People learn pretty quickly “how things get done around here” and they either play to game or find themselves outside the fence.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Isn’t this the part of the episode where Robert Ryan chimes in to remind us US diesels would fail EU emissions testing?

  • avatar
    wmba

    Never read so much hog manure in all my life as some of these comments.

    The situation is simple. There are legal standards to meet. VW did not meet them. It intentionally lied when first questioned as to whether it was gaming the test. Only when prevented from selling 2016 models did it admit that it did in fact gamed the test. That is an admission of fraud. Period. There is nothing more to add.

    However, apparently not content with a black and white case of corporate malfeasance, the right wingers here have decided it’s not VW at fault, but the EPA.

    If ever there was a country populated by some people who confuse upside down with right side up, it has to be America.

    Why in hell do you live in such an apparent hellhole, I wonder? It sure beats me.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    VW has responded to DieselGate in this YouTube video

    http://jalopnik.com/hitler-is-understandably-pissed-about-volkswagens-diese-1731943072

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    Get a grip. It is somewhat hellish living under liberal fascism, but it is what it is. Hopefully, VW will get it straightened out quickly, although that would seem unlikely.

  • avatar
    George B

    I had wondered how Volkswagen was able to pass CARB emissions tests without urea injection while other manufacturers failed to do so. Did other manufacturers figure out what Volkswagen was doing? If so, did they choose not to apply the same “solution” because of fear of getting caught or did they simply conclude that the business case for diesel cars in the US was lousy even with cheating? The sad thing is the number of car manufacturers making affordable diesel passenger cars for the US is likely to go from one to zero after Volkswagen is forced to “fix” their diesels too.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I’d bet VW’s exposure would be considerably more than $19 billion. Those are just the epa fines based on the idea of a massive, but limited screw up.

    With a fraud at this level, you have dozens, perhaps hundreds of felony wire fraud and mail fraud violations and of course, conspiracy. A pattern of felonious conduct for monetary gain is racketeering, with extra special punishment and of course treble damages to the victims.

    The state Attorney Generals get to “multi state” these guys—sue for fraud in a few dozen state courts friendly to the local boys in a coordinated way, with draconian punishment available in each one–essentially, impossible to defend.

    Then there is the possibility of felony time for a few executives.

    I wouldn’t expect it to get that bad, but Eric Holder, the corporations’ friend isn’t AG anymore, and it’s generally agreed that there is overcapacity, and this can cure it.

    They won’t get off as cheap as GM.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Regarding regulatory fines, VW’s maximum exposure is 18 billion USD, assuming each affected vehicle sold in the U.S. over the relevant time frame is assessed the full 37,500 dollar fine per vehicle.

      Regarding private causes of action by vehicle owners, VW will probably attempt to assert that EPA regulations (federal) preempt private causes of action in civil courts, yet I highly doubt that they’ll win on that argument, and ultimately thus be subjected to massive litigation by individuals and/or classes of individuals similarly situated, based on claims of misrepresentation, fraud, etc.

      In any event, I highly doubt the EPA or DOJ will attempt to extract the maximum fines from and/or impose the maximum punishment upon VW/VAG for their fraudulent actions and defective vehicles, but am very confident that VW, despite engaging in activity that violated many regulations, statutes, laws, etc. – despite no deaths or serious injuries resulting from such conduct – will pay FAR more than whatever fines are levied against Government Motors (GM) for GM’s intentional conduct and omissions that directly resulted in at least 124 fatalities and over 200 serious injuries, with both of the numbers likely far understating the actual numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Well GM wasn’t touting there ignition switches as fitted to the Cobalt and G5 as being of world class standards either. VW deliberately pulled the wool over the EPA’s eyes by installing an illegal defeat device in it’s diesel passenger vehicles and will pay the piper dearly.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Yeah right. The ignition shouldn’t be something you ever think about, and it may be safe to assume you’re getting a crappy car with crappy parts, but none of them should kill you or your family.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This right-winger agrees with you.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    Clean diesel was always a con-job – at its cleanest, WHEN THEY WERE CHEATING, it still wasn’t as clean as essentially all hybrids and a lot of normal gas cars (SULEV, ULEV).

    I’m still amazed how many car guys were willfully blind to this. I was here defending hybrids against diesel FUD ten years ago, and it’s like nothing has changed.

  • avatar
    cowboysanchez

    What gets me about diesel passenger cars is that crude oil does not let you choose between the amount of diesel and gas/petrol, it is fixed because they are different chains of carbon and diesel is about 18% heavier. Diesel car popularity in Europe in the 1990’s lead to an imbalance of consumption which lead to a surplus of gas to give incentive to driving massive SUVs. Once you have a manual transmission, efficiency just comes for free in a smaller car, diesel is chasing a diminishing return in that regard.


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