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.
Audi said that 2.1 million of its cars worldwide have been fitted with illegal software to help it cheat emissions tests, Reuters reported.
The automaker announced that multiple models including the A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5 were affected by the “defeat device” uncovered by researchers, which is grinding Volkswagen to an unimaginable halt.
Roughly three-quarters of the affected Audis were sold in Western Europe, including 577,000 in Germany alone, according to the report. (Read More…)
This week, Daimler, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued statements on how their diesel cars don’t cheat like someone else you may’ve heard of.
“The BMW Group does not manipulate or rig any emissions tests,” BMW said in a statement Thursday. “We observe the legal requirements in each country and fulfill all local testing requirements.”
BMW’s admission is notable because the automakers’ X3 diesel model was targeted by the independent commission that discovered that Volkswagen’s cars illegally polluted.
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency said this week that they’ll change regulations to hopefully catch carmakers who cheat on emissions tests in the future.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters at a Wall Street Journal forum Tuesday that the agency would be “upping its game” to stop automakers like Volkswagen from creating two dramatically different emissions cycles for its cars — a cleaner “testing mode” and a dirtier real-world mode. The agency said it would also crack down on automakers who lie about real-world fuel economy.
“Writing regulations takes time,” EPA’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Chris Grundler told the Detroit News. “When you are working in the rapidly changing environment that we’re in right now, we want to make sure that we are agile enough and flexible enough to change with those times.”
Only hours after Friday’s announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen that its cars were illegally polluting, David Fiol, a personal injury attorney in San Francisco, had filed a class-action lawsuit through a Seattle law firm in federal court.
He wasn’t alone either. Reuters reported that at least 25 class-action lawsuits were filed within hours of the EPA’s announcement as lawyers line up to take the lead on what could be one of the largest lawsuits against an automaker in history. Being the lead firm could be lucrative for the lead attorneys: A $2.65 billion 2006 judgement against AOL Time Warner on behalf of shareholders netted the lead firm’s owners $70 million in fees.
And according to the report, law firms don’t have to look far for clients. Many attorneys are VW TDI owners — a clear downside for having an highly educated customer base.