By on November 23, 2015

2015 Ford C-Max Energi

A court ruled Nov. 12 that a lawsuit may continue against Ford for misstating its mileage estimates of its C-MAX and Fusion hyrbid cars.

Ford attempted to dismiss the lawsuit based on its claim that the mileage estimates provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, were in part, an estimate and that “actual results may vary.” Car owners suing the automaker pointed to Ford’s media blitz that included Ryan Seacrest in Times Square with a bunch of billboards and T-shirts with the number 47 on them and “47 Challenges, 47 Days” marketing push and Facebook posts that the cars would achieve a “EPA-certified 47 mpg city and 47 mpg highway ratings for a 47-mpg combined rating” — among many other 47-branded things — when the cars didn’t come anywhere close.*

*Actual mileage did vary.

“Ford implicitly recognized that its advertising campaign was misleading,” U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas wrote in the ruling. (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2015

20 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

On Friday, Volkswagen of America detailed its plan to fix nearly 500,000 illegally polluting diesels in the United States to officials with the Environmental Protection Agency, the government body announced in a statement late Friday. The automaker was required to detail the fix no later than Friday.

The EPA, along with the California Air Resources Board, will review the proposal, said the statement. However, the EPA did not detail the proposal to the media or public and did not give a timeframe on when to expect the proposal to be detailed publicly.

The proposal only addresses issues detailed by the EPA in its September 18 Notice of Violation that applies to Volkswagen’s 2-liter diesel engines and not the 3-liter diesels which may also be cheating emissions tests.

(Read More…)

By on November 20, 2015

2014 Audi A7 TDI (11 of 34)

During a meeting Thursday between the Environmental Protection Agency, Volkswagen and Audi, officials from the automakers told the regulator an emissions program for 3-liter turbodiesel engines is also used on 2009 through 2016 model year vehicles, the EPA said in a statement today.

An earlier statement from the EPA on November 2 pointed the finger at a limited number of models and model years equipped with the 3-liter diesels, even though other model years of those same vehicles are virtually identical with regards to their emissions systems.

In the latest statement, the EPA is still calling the emissions program a defeat device, though Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have yet to recant their claim that the emissions program is legal and doesn’t violate emissions laws.

(Read More…)

By on November 20, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Volkswagen will have to submit Friday its plans to the California Air Resources Board and Environmental Protection Agency to fix hundreds of thousands of illegally polluting cars in the U.S., Reuters reported (via Automotive News). Although a fix is due today, testing that fix could take months before it would be installed in cars.

The deadline for the automaker comes after it announced it would ask Michael Steiner, head of Porsche development and quality, to oversee Volkswagen’s compliance with officials worldwide to fix up to 11 million cars. In Europe, Volkswagen demonstrated a fix for its 1.6-liter diesel engine that included an air sensor and software update that cost around $10.68, according to German outlet Wirtschaftswoche.

Volkswagen has said that its newer cars would likely only need a software update to be compliant. Older cars that are equipped with EA189 2-liter diesel engines may need more costly fixes.

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015

01 vw badge

Officials from Volkswagen will meet with U.S. environmental regulators this week to discuss how it plans to fix nearly 500,000 illegally polluting cars, according to Reuters. Officials from Audi will meet with regulators separately.

According to the report, Friedrich Eichler, VW’s powertrain development chief, will meet with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board to discuss proposed fixes for its cars ahead of its Nov. 20 deadline.

This month, a source indicated to TTAC that Volkswagen would start fixing its cars in February, pending approval from the EPA and CARB.

(Read More…)

By on November 5, 2015


Officials from Volkswagen will meet Thursday with the Environmental Protection Agency to explain to regulators how a “temperature conditioning” mode isn’t illegal, Reuters reported (via Automotive News).

“(Auxiliary Emission Control Device) software does not alter emissions levels, but it ensures after a cold start (of the engine) that the catalytic converters quickly reach their working temperature and emissions cleaning takes effect,” VW said, according to Reuters.

In its notification to the automaker Monday, officials from the EPA specifically outlined how a “temperature conditioning” mode, specifically timed to the length of the EPA’s initial tests, reduced emissions up to nine times in cars equipped with VW’s 3-liter diesel engine.

(Read More…)

By on November 2, 2015


Responding to the Environmental Protection Agency’s notification that it had uncovered an illegal “defeat device” in some 3-liter, diesel Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche models, Volkswagen AG said in a statement Monday that it “wishes to emphasize that no software has been installed in the 3-liter V6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner.”

The statement flies in the face of the EPA’s allegation that a “temperature conditioning” mode in the vehicles’ computers timed exactly to the length of the agency’s 75 initials emissions tests allowed the cars to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by up to 9 times.

(Read More…)

By on October 15, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI white

German transportation authority KBA on Thursday ordered the mandatory recall of 2.4 million Volkswagen cars with illegally polluting diesel engines, in part, because the German automaker’s proposed timetable wasn’t fast enough, Automotive News reported.

The forced recall will mean Volkswagen would likely spend more to fix its cars faster and German officials have told the automaker to submit a proposed fix by the end of November. Volkswagen initially planned for a voluntary recall to begin next year.

Authorities in Switzerland and Austria followed Germany and announced the forced recall would apply to those cars too, Bloomberg reported.

(Read More…)

By on September 25, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

It’s entirely possible that the Environmental Protection Agency could levy the largest ever civil penalty for Clean Air Act violations against Volkswagen after the automaker lied about emissions from their diesel engines.

In 2014, the government agency fined Hyundai and Kia $100 million for spewing 4.75 million metric tons of greenhouse gases above what they reported for 1.1 million cars.

For Volkswagen, using the EPA’s own penalty worksheet (which is apparently a thing), the fine may be substantially more than that levied against the Korean automakers — about $3.15 billion more.

Here’s how we got that number.

(Read More…)

By on September 24, 2015

EPA headquarters

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.”

(Read More…)

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