By on March 5, 2016

2016 Volkswagen Jetta rear 3/4

Volkswagen won’t be meeting a March 24 deadline to outline a diesel fix for U.S. regulators, Automotive News reports.

Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess made the admission in a German newspaper on March 5, claiming it will take the embattled company months, not weeks, to work out a fix for vehicles affected by the the diesel emissions scandal.

The company has been having difficulty coming up with a plan to modify hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. in order to meet state and federal guidelines. Any fix to vehicles that left the factory with an emissions-cheating defeat device would have to meet the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, and U.S. Department of Justice.

Last week, a U.S. District Court judge turned up the heat on Volkswagen by issuing a deadline for the fix — a date that will now have to be ignored.

“I believe we have good chances to achieve an agreement with the authorities in the United States in the next months,” Diess told the Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung.

In January, a lawyer working for Volkswagen said in court that the company was prepared to buy back vehicles that couldn’t be fixed in a timely manner, as well as those that couldn’t be fixed at all.

Older Volkswagen TDI models sold in the U.S. would likely need extensive work performed to bring their emissions up to acceptable levels. Even if a software fix was able to bring the older engines into compliance without greater modifications, owners would suffer a noticeable erosion of performance and fuel economy.

Last October, Volkswagen of America boss Michael Horn told Congress that the bulk of the vehicles impacted by the scandal in the U.S. were older models.

Horn’s statements were the first indication that Volkswagen might be prepared to purchase affected vehicles.

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79 Comments on “Volkswagen 2-Liter Diesel Fix Plan Won’t Be Ready by Deadline...”


  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    They are doing a fix for the Amarok in Australia

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      Amorak is what they started with in Germany as well. Probably because of the small number of vehicles. but they had to stop it and postpone all other upgrades since the fuel consumption increased. Assuming physics is the same down-under, that will be the same problem :)

      not even sure yet how that impacts actual emissions and Ad-blue consumption. i assume for Adblue equipped vehicles part of emission reduction is to use Adblue much more often. Obviously an inconvenience and cost to the owner.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      If there was a real “fix”, Australia would be the last to get it.

      The Australian “fix” is VW simply removing the “Cheat cycle”, so Amaroks pollute at maximum efficiency, 100% of the time. And of course there’s no loss of power or fuel efficiency either, why would there be?

      Aussie officials are worse, more asleep than Euro officials. No one down there cares either way.

  • avatar
    dwford

    If there was an easy way for these engines to meet emissions regulations, VW wouldn’t have cheated in the first place. They are now stuck trying to reengineer old designs.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Presumably not a problem doing a fix. Why the drama over this in the US, suggests more than technical reasons

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      It’s not that it wasn’t “easy” or “possible,” it was. It’s just that it’s not “easy” or “possible” to sell a diesel car which truly meets standards at a starting price of $20,000. VW wanted to push “clean diesel” relentlessly at the same time they were chasing sales volume to be the world’s #1 automaker. and you can’t do clean diesel without SCR, DPFs, and a horrendous amount of EGR. VW thought that they could sidestep that with a cheat, while Mazda said “well, we can’t do it, so forget it.”

      • 0 avatar

        And there you have it. Mazda and Honda never sold diesel here because they couldn’t do it right at the price point. Move up to X5 or Porsche money and you can.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          @speedlaw. Exactly, Mazda and Honda couldn’t get them to comply, GM had to charge an over $5K premium on the Cruze to build a compliant solution, that gets worse MPG and uses urea like a Vegas hooker with a golden shower complex.

          Ford punted on bring euro diesels here, Audi cheated on some models, as did Porsche, Mercedes and BMW also charge a high premium, but a luxury vehicles customers are willing to pay.

          FCA has no small diesel engine offerings.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Exactly what JimZ said.

        This is why VW had such a head scratching economy, price, and maintenance advantage over the competition. The competition followed the rules, they didn’t – so they could build them with a lower diesel premium.

        If they could have done it legally they would have. The fixes we are seeing in other parts of the world are incremental, and won’t meet US emission standards that, wait for it, other makers are capable of meeting without committing institutionalized fraud for almost a decade at a wide scale level around the globe.

        They won’t have an answer before March 24 because the choices they have for the 2.0L engines are rather limited, and expensive no matter what they do.

        Gut reliability and fuel economy and meet the standard, while then facing the wraith of owners who suffer from both, or do a buy back. Option 3 is drag their feet and hope for a Republican in the White House come January 2017.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “Option 3 is drag their feet and hope for a Republican in the White House come January 2017.”

          I honestly think that’s their angle. It looks the Republicans are going to maintain Congress so if they pull an upset to win the Presidential election the EPA is going to be defunded to the point it will just be a Pepsi machine in the back of a Virginia post office.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          APaGttH, Republicans winning the Presidential election won’t solve Volkswagen’s TDI problem. Volkswagen’s bigger problem is meeting CARB requirements for California and the states that follow California emissions requirements. If CARB rejects the modification and California refuses to allow those VW TDI cars to be registered, Volkswagen will be forced to buy back large numbers of cars independent of the EPA. In addition, why would a Republican administration make any effort enforce the rules less stringently on the “Green Police” company that aligned itself with the urban and environmentalist side of the political divide?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Even if a software fix was able to bring the older engines into compliance without greater modifications, owners would suffer a noticeable erosion of performance and fuel economy.”

    I think this is a widespread assumption, not yet proven in fact.

  • avatar
    brettc

    And the slow-motion trainwreck continues on for the foreseeable future…. I bet VW dealers are super excited about this newest development.

    As a TDI owner, the continued lack of useful information is getting to be a bit stressful and extremely frustrating. A buyback plan in 2015 would have done so much for them in terms of sales and customer goodwill.

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Give it up VW. There is no fix and there never will be a fix. It’s time to end this charade, bend over and take it where the sun doesn’t shine.

    And speaking of which don’t let the door hit your lying ass on the way out.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      I think their is more to the issue than they ” cannot” meet the standards, it maybe legally difficult to fine them and the EPA is getting their own back by being difficult

      • 0 avatar
        thejohnnycanuck

        Naw, they got nothing. What’s it been, 6 or 7 months now?

        The only thing they really have to be thankful for is that in the grand scheme of things and despite their best efforts diesels are still for the most part shunned in North America. Imagine if those TDIs had really caught on? Thankfully this is VW we’re talking about. They never have had the slightest clue how to sell cars in North America.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          The cars with AdBlue injection will clearly be able to be fixed, which is all of the 2012-2015 Passats and 2015 Jettas and Golfs. The 2009-2014 Golf and Jetta models may not be fixable.

          • 0 avatar
            thejohnnycanuck

            Again, it’s been over 6 months now. So why aren’t any of them fixed, AdBlue or not.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            they’re probably trying to drag this out as long as possible in the hopes that those stupid Americans will get bored and forget about it.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          Pretty good selling them outside NA. No I think there is a game going on with the EPA and VW

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “…there’s a game going on with the EPA and VW”

            The EPA just asked VW to make TDIs compliant, no harm, no foul, and no fines, just fix the cars. Then VW lied, tried to fool the EPA, and more or less, joked it off. This was long before the EPA when public with the VW scandal.

            So who’s *gaming* who??

            “Pretty good selling them outside NA…”

            What’s “good selling”? Diesel passenger cars are on a worldwide decline, and nowhere is the decline more intense that in Australia. And this before Euro-5, then Euro-6 kicks in, in OZ. Then hold on to you hat.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Hilarious, Audi is going to build twenty new models, this year. If that is a decline,bring it on. Audi is selling more diesels than ever in Australia. That new 4 Litre. 400hp, 620lbs ft of torque monster should be something else
            Love this
            http://www.carsales.com.au/editorial/news/2016/prestige-and-luxury/audi/sq7/audi-sq7-worlds-most-powerful-diesel-suv-101556

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Audi is a small operator in Australia, and they’re not selling mostly diesels. Not by a long shot. Diesel cars are selling at less than 5% of the OZ market. Expect that figure to torpedo further in the coming years. That you can bet on.

            caradvice.com.au/401545/diesel-and-hybrid-passenger-car-sales-keep-shrinking/

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Dimwit,
            Audi sells all types of cars.and it is growing., including the diesels. It has been setting sales records .
            Hybrids and EV’s are dying, diesels despite the article are selling well, people are moving from sedans to SUV’s and Pickups
            Pickups and SUV’s are boosting diesel,sales
            “Perhaps in reflection of the growing efficiency of regular petrol cars, hybrid passenger sales were down to both private buyers (by 1.1 per cent) and fleets (by 7.7 per cent) in November — despite petrol-electric cars being more affordable now than ever.

            For all of 2015, private hybrid vehicle sales are down at a rate significantly higher than just November. They’ve dropped 11.8 per cent.

            The decline in LPG is perhaps the most marked. In the first 11 months of 2010, Australians bought 4796 LPG-fired cars, while this year that number sits at 1291. Holden has already axed the LPG Commodore, while Ford Falcon sales have obviously dwindled.”

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You’re confusing a few things. Audi sales are jumping, plus many all-new models, but Audi isn’t selling more diesels, just more models in which you can buy an Audi with a diesel.

            About 1 in 20 will buy an Audi with a diesel in OZ.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            If you think things don’t currently look good for diesels Down Undah, wait until Ad-blue/SCR is required of diesel cars and pickup in OZ. Then you’ll see a real decline in take rates. Right now they just laughable.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    DIM,
    What does it say about US Pickup Diesels, that cannot even meet, those standards? A Joke

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      If you’re insinuating that diesel pickups in the US can’t meet the EPA standards, can you at least articulate it in an intelligible way?

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Obviously they meet the EPA,but fail here much to the chagrin of many of the ” quota” importers

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Your slightly lower, diesel CO2 ‘limit’ is a smoke screen to throw you off of the cancer inducing, *current!* Euro-4 NOx ‘scent’ emitted right next to fairly safe CO2.

          That’s why there’s such an emphasis on CO2 in OZ, which goes back decades in Europe, with the big political push for diesel cars, never minding the cancerous effects on its citizens and health care costs of astronomical proportions.

          Btw, the 1st year catalytic converters were required on gas engines in Europe was 1992! What about OZ??

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      RobertRyan, diesel pickups meet the US emissions standards by throwing many thousands of dollars of hardware at the problem on relatively expensive models. These heavy duty pickup consume enough fuel to pay for the higher up front cost of diesel. Volkswagen cheated and cheaped out the Jetta TDI because Americans will not pay a large price for a small car.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    These vehicles cannot reasonably be made legal. VW is surely trying to negotiate some “alternative solution” which doesn’t involve actually making the vehicles compliant.

    Buying them all back is the only alternative which will actually take the non-compliant vehicles off the road.

  • avatar
    Von

    So much for German engineering.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    On the other hand they can churn out new diesel vehicles and engines without a sweat, but struggle to make a current engine compliant? None of it adds up

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Bigger diesels aren’t as negatively impacted by full emissions, like smaller diesels, 2 liters especially. Not when it comes to power and efficiency, if not reliability.

      Obviously you’re not talking small Audi diesels, and you missed the part about the 3rd and *electric* turbo. I missed the part whether the diesel prototype would be fully Euro-6 or US complaint.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Diesel is a diesel, size does not matter, except in the US, where larger ones do not have to meet the most stringent requirements as required elsewhere

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          All US sold diesels have the same emissions standard. Obviously the bigger engines have the easier time meeting them.

          Picture all of them powering a similar emissions ‘generator’, in order to run clean while also having the task of powering the vehicle adequately with acceptable fuel efficiently.

          Euro and Aussie emissions vary greatly, according to vehicle size, mass and class, allowing small diesel cars to run dirtier. That’s why VW hit the wall here, trying to beat hybrids honestly.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Larger engines actually have a harder time meeting the standards, since the limits are set in “grams per mile.”

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            OK, it’s “grams per mile”, but how would that make it harder for larger engines? Note smaller engines usually work harder, rotate more per mile.

            Complicated (full) diesel emissions are more overbearing and taxing on smaller engines. Larger diesel engines hardly know they’re doing so much filtering, to the point, in dirty cities like London or Paris, the air coming out the tailpipe is cleaner than what’s sucked in.

            Maybe smaller diesels should be more exempt, with more relaxed emissions standards. Until then, it’s a struggle for smaller diesels.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            a 6.7 liter Powerstroke is going to burn a lot more fuel (and emit more pollutants) pushing a 7,000 lb truck for one mile than is a 2.0 liter EA288 pushing a 3,300 lb car.

            “Maybe smaller diesels should be more exempt, with more relaxed emissions standards. Until then, it’s a struggle for smaller diesels.”

            Horses**t. we’re already seeing the results of diesels being allowed to play fast and loose in Paris’s smog problems. EPA basically up and said “starting 2008, no more free pass, no more exemptions, you need to meet the same standards as gas engines.”

            If they can’t, then they need to go. There’s no reason for the EPA to loosen the rules just to please a handful of whiny car snobs who need to feel unique.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I agree small diesels should be held to the same standard, if not tighter emissions standards than big diesels. My comment was that economies don’t scale, so it’s exponentially harder for small diesels to run clean and still have decent fuel economy and power levels.

            Bigger diesels don’t have such problems.

            The obvious solution is to not buy small diesels.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Fuel economy does not equal NOx emissions.

            The issue with these Volkswagens is that they are lower-priced cars. The additional features that are needed to filter NOx under US regulations, which are more stringent than Euro 5 or Euro 6, have relatively high costs.

            BMW can afford to charge enough that those costs don’t matter. But VW can’t do this with Jettas sold in the US, as those cars are supposed to be modestly priced. VW can’t pass on those costs to its customers without losing sales.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I *believe* the standards aren’t as stringent for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, but unfortunately the standards for heavy engines are set in grams/bhp-hour instead of grams/mile, so a direct comparison is difficult.

            though whatever the case, even if the standards for heavy trucks are less stringent they still need DEF and particulate filters to meet them.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I don’t know whether a straight conversion from grams per bhp-hr (the standard for HD pickups and semis) to grams per mile (the passenger car/ light truck standard) is even possible. But sure, it’s fair to guess that a larger class truck is allowed to pollute more.

            If one wishes to compare the US and Europe, then the US has more stringent standards for both size classes. I realize that there are certain posters here who fail to recognize that, but we already knew that they were idiots.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      the older EA189s without AdBlue are screwed. it’s not likely they’re going to magically find a place to install the reduction catalyst, new DPF, and urea tank on those cars. the EA288s with AdBlue should probably be “fixable” with updated firmware, at the cost of higher urea consumption. Possibly much higher. I wouldn’t be surprised if they might be trying to develop a larger AdBlue tank for these cars (if there’s room for it) to try to keep the *perceived* urea consumption about the same.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        I think the holdup on the AdBlue cars is that they may need a larger catalytic (or just more $$) converter in addition to the software reprogramming.

        No idea what will happen to the non-urea cars, but they aren’t as large a proportion as people think, as all Passats affected are AdBlue cars. It’s only the 2009-2014 Jetta/Golf that use the EA189 w/o AdBlue.

        I doubt they would try to increase the size of the AdBlue tank. It’d be easier to just give a coupon for free lifetime AdBlue or something (not that it’s expensive anyway but it would be a nice gesture to make up for increased consumption).

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    VW’s likely “tech solution” will be to buy back. The only hold up now is to find a way to justify buying back for the minimum allowable/acceptable price.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Anybody out there ever drive gas and then the diesel version of the same car? How does the real world mileage compare?

    I rented a pissant last month. 1100 miles 90% highway miles. I got 35.8 MPG. NOT using what the lying trip computers said. I used old skool math. miles driven / gallons put in.

    The point is, unless the diesel gets mid 40s … what s the point of the diesel? If the engine is all choked up with smog gear that it only gets 39MPG, kill them off.

    PS- VW will buy back all TDIs. Export and sell them to countries with lax emission laws.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      diesels don’t require a throttle so they’re even better at city/around town mpg. Gas engines have a pumping-loss penalty when you’re puttering around, forcing them to breathe through a barely-cracked-open throttle.

      (yes, I know most diesel engines have throttle bodies now, but that’s strictly there to increase EGR pull through the restrictive EGR coolers. it’s not there to govern the engine speed.)

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      The diesel DOES get mid 40s MPG.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    As pointed out by others, VW’s last best hope for the non-AdBlue cars is to pull off a deal with the EPA wherein they undertake some sort of project that reduces total NOx emissions in the US by much more than their cheating engines are generating. Said solution would need to be focused on urban areas where NOx is worst. If they can’t hit a ninth inning home run with this approach, they are going to be buying a lot of cars.

    • 0 avatar
      NickS

      This is probably the most realistic common ground the EPA and VW’s accountants could find, IF they had an amicable relationship to work from. No-one knows if that is the case, but the public statements say that it’s rather contentious. VW gave an upper hand to the EPA in terms of public perception (with arguably a valid reason on EPA’s part, since VW was playing cocky until the fan blades turned brown).

      Your suggestion leaves the EPA open to even more criticism from the usual suspects for ineffectiveness in the very thing they are tasked with regulating. Even if a some NOx scrubbing tech deployed by VW ends up reducing far more NOx than the TDIs ever produced, the general public will still see the irony in EPAs approval of a paper fix that makes all those TDIs “compliant”.

      The EPA might have agreed to take it on the chin and get VW slide with some urban NOX cleanup, but again, that assumes a very favorable political climate for the EPA. That does not exist today. With political interference maybe, but not in general.

      I think the bigger question is why VW has been “studying” the matter for so long with no real movement here in the US. There will be a cost, but they are denying it will be worth it. I am sure they’d like to re-flash the SCR-equipped ones and negotiate separately for the 1st gen ones, but the EPA will most likely want to see a solution for all TDIs.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    My wife loves her Passat TDI, but it did have two big insurance hits on it within the first six months of ownership (someone backed into it, damaging the back of the car significantly. Within a month of getting the car back, my wife had a run in with one of the local deer at highway speed), so if Volkswagen wants to buy it back, I’m listening.

    Either way, my 2014 gas Jetta, as reliable an appliance as it is, is going back at the end of the lease in October. Likely to be replaced with some sort of Fiesta from CarMax.

  • avatar
    th009

    I believe there will be no partial fixes or recalls announced, for only some models, even if the technical solution is in place. EPA wants to negotiate a complete settlement for all affected models (probably also including Audi and the 6-cylinder TDI models), including not only the technical fix but also remedies for owners and any penalties (or other mitigating actions) that VW will be required to take.

    I have no inside knowledge on this, but I’m 99% certain we’ll get one single big-bang announcement from EPA/VW when it’s all agreed upon, whenever that may be, and nothing before that.

  • avatar

    So, all of the car makers knew the VW engines were cheating, if only after doing a competitive analysis and finding out there was no magic to try to copy.

    Yet, not a peep, for years, from anyone. The University that discovered this only did so to see how the US cars met standards when they didn’t in EU. This couldn’t have been news to the other car companies….

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      speedlaw, the easiest explanation is that small diesel passengers cars aren’t a profitable market segment justifying lots of research. For example, the Chevrolet Cavalier and Cobalt show just how little GM cares about small cars without adding profit-sucking diesel on top of this loser market segment. The other manufacturers probably thought Volkswagen found some creative way to bend the rules, but didn’t care enough about money losing diesel cars to discover that Volkswagen was blatantly cheating.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        the problem with your statement is that the Cavalier and Cobalt are long out of production, and the successor (the Cruze) is significantly better and WAS offered with a diesel in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I suspect it took competitors years to study & discover what VW was doing, and then they discretely started dropping hints to those who mattered, which also would have taken a while to trigger an official investigation.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Both Honda and Mazda invested millions of dollars trying to bring small diesels to the US, but could not match VW’s “success” in meeting emisions requirements. I would be surprised if they did not at least suspect that VW’s secret sauce was a cheat.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It’s better for a competitor not to alert the feds right away. Let those fines build up and crush VW.

  • avatar
    Hassu

    The mayor of Paris France stated that they have to get rid of diesels because of their effect to the air pollution. The best city air quality (cleaniest air) is in North America. This is just the result of small number of diesels. In diesels we usually think about Nox but it´s also the aerosols (small particles) which are harmfull. Worldwide they cause milions of deaths annually. So, be happy to get rid of the diesels in the US. Here in Europe we soon have to wear gas masks to survive passing VW´s

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      One of the great fantasies that diesel causes air pollution., EFI Gas engines have vastly more particulates, they cause severe problems to people. NOx to the Ozone layer.
      Paris banned ALL older vehicles coming into the City, it suffers from a lot of no wind days
      Gas masks to survive? Do not know if your post is serious or not

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s the diesels. Don’t kid yourself. Petrol engines in Paris have had catalytic converters since ’92. What about Europe’s diesels? It’s only since September 2015, all new diesel cars sold in Europe have SCR/Ad-Blue emissions.

        Up till recently, 80% of new cars sold in Paris were pre emissions diesels.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          “It’s the diesels. Don’t kid yourself. Petrol engines in Paris have had catalytic converters since ’92. What about Europe’s diesels?”
          So even with catalytic convertors they failed, time to revaluate their emissions.. No problem with European Diesels, US Diesels are the problem here.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        DI, not EFI.

  • avatar
    petercharnish

    I’m waiting to figure out what’s going on with my 2010 jetta tdi but I’m from Canada so mine might take longer for a solution if there’s one

  • avatar
    petercharnish

    Any word on a Canadian fix or when more news will come out because I’m from Canada but haven’t herd of a solution or and time line for it


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