Category: Government

By on October 9, 2015

Michael Horn

Update: Official statement from EPA.

During his voluntary testimony for a congressional committee Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn announced the company would withdraw their application for emissions certification for 2016 model year Volkswagens powered by 2-liter diesel engines.

However, the reason for that withdrawal is not directly related to the “defeat device” that’s been at the center of the ongoing diesel controversy.

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By on October 8, 2015


The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in Ontario, Canada, has launched an official investigation into Volkswagen Canada and Audi Canada regarding their roles in the ongoing diesel emissions scandal that affects some 35,000 vehicles in the province, the ministry announced Wednesday.

The investigation is related to possible violations under Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act that prohibits the sale of vehicles that do not meet emissions standards.

(But, why is there a picture of a Chevrolet Silverado painted in army green at the top? Hold on. We’ll get there.)

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By on October 8, 2015


A former federal official and the Environmental Protection Agency said that German supplier Bosch didn’t supply Volkswagen — or other automakers — with cheating software, implying that Volkswagen engineers acted alone in deceiving emission tests, Reuters reported (via Automotive News).

According to the report, Bosch supplies the engine control management unit for most four-cylinder diesel passenger cars, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and others. Both BMW and Mercedes have said their cars do not have software that cheats emission tests.

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By on October 8, 2015

Michael Horn testifying

Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn testified to a congressional committee Thursday that he wasn’t aware until last month of the illegal “defeat device” installed on nearly 500,000 cars in the U.S. — approximately 11 million worldwide — and that the car company could take several years to fix its cars.

Horn testified in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee for oversight and investigations for more than two hours.

“I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” Horn said in a prepared response before answering questions from representatives.

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By on October 8, 2015

By on October 8, 2015

Meanwhile, over in the EU, no one appears to have lost their minds over the Volkswagen scandal. Not at all. Totally sane.

By on October 8, 2015

Michael Horn

In a prepared statement released ahead of congressional testimony Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn said the automaker knew of emissions issues last spring when West Virginia University researchers published findings that the automaker’s cars were illegally polluting. (Emphasis mine.)

In the spring of 2014 when the West Virginia University study was published, I was told that there was a possible emissions non-compliance that could be remedied. I was informed that EPA regulations included various penalties for non-compliance with the emissions standards and that the agencies can conduct engineering tests which could include “defeat device” testing or analysis. I was also informed that the company engineers would work with the agencies to resolve the issue.

(Should have followed up a little more on that email, probably.)

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By on October 7, 2015

Toyota Hilux. Picture courtesy of Toyota

(Probably because it’s the most popular truck.)

Automotive News reported that Toyota is cooperating with U.S. authorities in uncovering why members of the terrorist group ISIS seem to be so fond of Toyota Hiluxes and Land Cruisers, which consistently rank among the top 5 best-selling vehicles for many Middle Eastern countries, prompted by an investigation* by ABC News.

The automaker said the company forbids directly selling cars to paramilitary or terrorist organizations because of course it does. The company said it would be impossible to control indirect or illegal sales to terrorist organizations because of course it is.

ABC News hasn’t reached out to Ford to see how it controls sales of F-150 trucks to American drug cartels. Read More >

By on October 5, 2015

Subaru Sambar

Twelve countries, including the United States, reached an agreement Monday on an historic trade agreement that could economically tie together more than 400 million people in Asian Pacific and American countries. The pact would cover trade for wide ranging products, from rice to pharmaceutical drugs to cars.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which negotiators have been working on for eight years, would thaw trade relations among countries included in the regional zone, including Japan and the United States. For automakers in both countries, the tentative deal includes provisions for Japanese automakers to (eventually) bring light-duty trucks to the U.S. For American automakers, part of the proposed agreement included a side deal between America and Japan to allow access for U.S. automakers to traditionally closed Japanese markets.

The agreement faces an uphill battle to get congressional approval; House Republicans and presidential candidates already have roundly dismissed the deal.

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By on October 4, 2015


A researcher from Leeds University says that at least four other automakers’ cars are polluting above the legal limits for Europe, including Ford, BMW, Mazda and Mercedes-Benz, the Daily Mail reported.

James Tate, a researcher and lecturer at the university measured over 300 new cars to comply with new Euro 6 diesel emissions standards. According to Tate, Mazda’s diesel engines, on average, emitted more than six times the European limit for nitrogen oxide emissions in new cars. Ford’s cars may have polluted more, but Tate said the automaker’s sample size was too small to tell.

According to the report, Tate used a roadside sniffer for testing in the UK, similar to ones used in the United States.

“This research shows that building cars so they perform well in laboratory emissions tests but emit high amounts of NOx in real urban driving is an endemic practice across the industry,” Tate said, according to the Daily Mail. “There is very little known about how the manufacturers conduct their tests because they take place behind closed doors.”

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