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.)
After starting in Barrow, the northernmost settlement in the United States, our second stop takes us 200 miles (320 km) south east to Prudhoe Bay, again on the Arctic Ocean.
Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller told German authorities that the company would begin recalling cars in Europe in January and that fixes those cars take roughly one year to complete, Automotive News reported.
Müller told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the company found 9.5 million affected cars, not 11 million, that would need to be fixed. Müller didn’t specify what the fixes for cars would be, but said that the company was preparing “thousands” of solutions for its cars that cheated emission tests. Müller said the company would replace cars in certain circumstances.
It’s unclear when recalls for the 482,000 cars in the U.S. would start.
On Friday, September 18, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen that its cars violated clean air standards by incorporating a “defeat device” that used engine management controls to cheat emissions tests.
Since the EPA’s letter to VW, and subsequent order to recall nearly 482,000 Volkswagen cars, the scandal has deepened and developed with Volkswagen shedding billions in value in markets worldwide, halting sales of its cars in the U.S. and Canada, shuffling executives to other seats or out the door entirely, and other regulatory agencies jumping in to investigate.
Here’s a roundup of the stories so far.
According to Reuters, Volkswagen may have suspended engineers — including top engineers for Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche — without any evidence.
According to the report, more than 10 engineers were suspended in the fallout after it became clear the automaker cheated its way through emissions tests in the U.S. and Europe. It’s not clear if the suspended engineers would be reinstated at the company.
Reuters reported that VW’s internal investigation revealed that the illegal “defeat devices” began appearing in cars around 2008 after engineers discovered that their engine, which was costly to produce, wouldn’t pass emissions tests.
Audi in Germany on Friday added information to its main website so customers can determine if their car is affected by an illegal “defeat device” included in 11 million Volkswagen Group cars.
Audi owners can identify if their cars will be part of the unprecedented recall by entering the car’s VIN into the website. Audi said it would roll out a similar service in separate, worldwide markets in coming days. Audi owners can also go to dealerships to see if their cars will require recall work.
Volkswagen created a website in the U.S. this week to answer preliminary questions for its owners, including a video message by Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn. (Read More…)
Green Car Journal announced Wednesday that they would take back two awards given to vehicles that are now part of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions debacle. The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI and 2010 Audi A3 TDI were bestowed Green Car of the Year awards by the publication.
“Rescinding the Green Car of the Year awards for the VW Jetta TDI and Audi A3 TDI is unfortunate but appropriate,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal.
A report by the New York Times estimates that Volkswagen cars that illegally polluted up to 40 times more nitrogen oxides may have contributed to more than 100 premature deaths in the U.S., nearly equal to the faulty GM ignition switch that has been linked to 124 deaths.
The researchers calculated the effects of the increased nitrogen oxides by using numbers derived from U.S. counties where power plant emissions had been reduced. Those counties removed 350 tons of nitrogen dioxides per year and had 5 fewer deaths per 100,000 people. Calculating the number of VW diesels and their average emissions at 39 times the legal limit, the writers concluded that the cars could be responsible for 106 premature deaths nationwide.
New Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller told about 1,000 high-level managers Monday that the company had a “comprehensive” fix for its cars, and that the solution would be forthcoming.
“We are facing a long trudge and a lot of hard work,” Müller said, according to Reuters.”We will only be able to make progress in steps and there will be setbacks.”
Müller said the company would ask consumers “in the next few days” to bring their cars in to be refitted. It’s unclear if the recall program would be a software or ECU fix, or if it would include a selective catalytic reduction system (urea or AdBlue) to bring the diesel Volkswagens down to a legal emissions level. (Read More…)
According to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Bosch engineers told Volkswagen in 2007 that software the supplier had offered for the cars in testing, which made it into road cars, was illegal and should not be used.
The newspaper, which did not cite any sources in the story, said a spokesperson for Bosch did not comment on the report.
If true, the report shows a quick push from the supplier — who admitted it supplied Volkswagen with the parts used to circumvent emissions standards — to isolate the automaker’s responsibility for the scandal. Bosch issued a statement last week saying as much (emphasis mine):
As is usual in the automotive supply industry, Bosch supplies these components to the automaker’s specifications. How these components are calibrated and integrated into complete vehicle systems is the responsibility of each automaker.