NHTSA Chief: VW's Cheating Hurts 'Public Confidence' in Industry

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Speaking at an event in suburban Detroit, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind said Volkswagen’s admission that they lied about emissions in their diesel cars erodes confidence in automakers.

“They tell you one thing, you question it,” Rosekind said to reporters, according to Automotive News. “You just have to question every assumption when information is provided.”

Recent scandals including VW, hackable cars and airbag defects erode consumer confidence and that more must be done by automakers before cars go on sale, he said.

“Accountability in leadership is literally at the top of the list, and we’ve just got to be out front, acting, talking and doing everything we can to demonstrate that it should be in their genes,” Rosekind said, according to Automotive News.

Rosekind also said that vehicle hacking, like the vulnerability found in hundreds of thousands of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s cars, should be at the forefront for more automakers.

“Autos are the biggest target for everyone to go after,” Rosekind said. “So, basically, they’re on a pedestal now. They’re the Holy Grail. They’re in a garage. They’re accessible.”

Rosekind also hinted at a future where NHTSA is more involved with automakers before cars are released.

“NHTSA is interested in doing more than just policing the auto industry,” he said.

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7 of 64 comments
  • Jim brewer Jim brewer on Sep 22, 2015

    Disagree. The social and economic costs to stop dedicated dirtbags like this are just astronomical. The costs of running a regulatory system where the regulated occasionally fail or there is a bona fide technical dispute is much more reasonable. That's one reason why these acts are criminal.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Sep 23, 2015

    Cadillac pulled a similar scam years ago (1990?) with their gasoline powered cars. The EPA test was run with AC off. GM set the Caddy to run rich and dirty when the AC was on...which in a car with climate control, is approximately always. In 1998, EPA nailed every major heavy-duty diesel manufacturer in the US for doing an end-run around the 20-minute test cycle: the engines ran clean for the first 20 minutes, and then switched to a pig-dirty program. In 2006 and 2014, German studies of 15 different passenger car diesels found this "cycle beating" scam yet again, to the tune of 7 times the published emission levels. Why do this? Smoothness for the Caddy, fuel economy for the diesels. It's irrelevant that the vehicles "passed the test." EPA regs are clear: no part or component may bypass, defeat, or render inoperative any device or element of design installed for compliance with regulations. More than ever, I look forward to a BEV future. Maybe with a lithium recycling component.

  • Mostawesomematt Mostawesomematt on Sep 23, 2015

    If the engineering department at VW was clever as a snake, they would have designed the computer code so that if caught they could blame it on a metric to English units conversion error. Then they would blame us for using the English units system and ask us when we are going to change our ways so that something like this never happens again. By the way, I work for a German company in the construction field. I spend half my day converting inches to millimeters and back again. If only the world would pick one of the two systems, and I don't care which one, then I would be happy.

    • Bikegoesbaa Bikegoesbaa on Sep 23, 2015

      The world did pick one. For some inexplicable reason the US just won't get on board with it. We should have metrificated the whole country 50 years ago; at gunpoint if necessary.

  • Buckshot Buckshot on Sep 23, 2015

    I found 17 articles about VW cheating emissiontests here on TTAC the last 4 days, SEVENTEEN!!! Come on, there must other things to write about. No i´m not a VW fanboy.

    • See 1 previous
    • Ah_non_e_mouse Ah_non_e_mouse on Sep 23, 2015

      @hotdog453 And it's not just about VW as this will most likely trigger an upheaval in how automobile emissions are regulated (or at least enforced) worldwide going forward.