By on September 21, 2015

news-2016-audi-a3-sportback-tdi-exterior-02

Back in July, TTAC reader Stephen told us that his recently ordered 2016 Audi A3 TDI was sitting at port for an unknown reason and his dealer and Audi couldn’t give him much of a reason why.

“(The cars) are being held at the port as they have not been cleared by Quality and Logistics to be released for port processing yet,” a distribution advocate for Audi wrote in July.

As weeks wore on, Stephen alerted us to the varied responses he received from Audi, which ranged from “quality review” to “government certification.” We reached out to Audi on his behalf and heard from a spokesman that the cars were sitting at port awaiting a certificate of compliance from the Environmental Protection Agency, despite being identical to 2015 models that had already been certified. 

A spokeswoman for the EPA said the government could withhold any car from entering the U.S. if there were any problems with emissions.

“If EPA finds issues with emissions on any vehicle, we would take action,” the spokeswoman wrote in August. ” … it can and sometimes does happen if a manufacturer has shipped a car that does not yet have a valid COC. As we mentioned above, it is illegal to enter cars into commerce before they have a valid COC. If this were a domestic manufacturer they would just keep the cars on their property and delay shipping them to dealers.”

We talked with representatives from Audi in August and they didn’t indicate any issue with the cars. An official with the EPA didn’t say that the diesel cars were being held for specified problems. Users at VWVortex reported that some (but not all) of their Jetta TDI models were being held at port for quality checks.

We reached out to Audi on Friday and to the EPA on Monday to see if the July holds were related to recent news that investigators uncovered “defeat devices” on the diesel cars that would allow the cars to cheat and pass emission tests.

(Note to readers: We received the note from a reader in July and decided not to pursue the story after discussing with other manufacturers normal wait times at U.S. ports. Some reported that cars could sit at ports for months. Nothing from the EPA indicated the extraordinary circumstances that VW cars are currently in.)

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

146 Comments on “Volkswagen’s Diesel Cars Have Been Sitting At U.S. Ports For Months...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “Reached out to”, like “shared with” and “going forward”, is newspeak puke. They are agenda-soaked and falsely imply gushing generosity and progress. I just use “contacted” “sent to” and “future”.

    Newspeak is like smiles at a faculty party.

    Car related: Ha ha! VW sucks!

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      The victim here is TTAC reader Stephen! Problems with his VAG already and he hasn’t even sat in the damn thing yet. Stephen, get your money back and RUN, this is a sign of things to come.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        THIS.

        At this point you should cut your losses. You have to know deep in your heart that once they get these car to comply something will suffer. MPG? Durability? Increased urea consumption (and costs there in). Reduced power and hence performance? All of the above? Diminished resale value right out of the gate?

        Run – run for your life. Run.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      Your war on compound verbs has been noted.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Or elevator small talk. Or Monday “Have a good weekend?” small talk. Or Friday “Have a good weekend!” small talk.

      That crap makes me so tired. I can’t do it!

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      There’s a reason why I haven’t purchased a new car since 2003, and currently performing resto-mods on my existing vehicles.

      With the EPA pushing for higher fuel efficiency standards, manufacturers have been taking shortcuts with each new model year to achieve compliance (which means more complex but cheap components and more stuff to break).

      VW is only the tip of the iceberg, my friends.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “(which means more complex but cheap components and more stuff to break).”

        Then why are cars more reliable now than in 2003? The Prius being the most durable and reliable of them all?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    VW/VAG will be made to pay many, many, many billions of dollars for knowingly, flagrantly violating environmental regulations, EPA test protocols and for intentionally deceiving regulators & consumers with their dirty, particulate & NOx belching diesels, as well as face many billions more in damages in private causes of actions from affected vehicle owners, as they rightfully should.

    Some speculate that the regulatory fines based on existing statutory authority will reach 18 billion dollars, alone, not including damages paid to owners of the subject vehicles due to individual and class action civil lawsuits.

    In contrast, General Motors, which actively hid a known, fatal safety defect, which contributed officially, thus far, to 124 deaths and well over 200 serious injuries (with that number certainly much higher, and set to grow larger), will likely escape seeing any of its employees being punished criminally, and to add insult to injury, will likely pay far less a total amount in regulatory and civil action fines and damages than VW, thanks in no small part to domestic politics and Crony Capitalism (i.e. Deep State Capture of Congress, the DOJ, the Executive Branch & NHTSA).

    We are living in sad & surreal times.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      They knew the rules and penalties dude. Don’t go any further down the rabbit hole of equivalent justice.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/the-gm-criminal-settlement-disappointing/

        The GM Criminal Settlement — Disappointing
        Michael Volkov September 21, 2015Ethics
        This article was republished with permission from Michael Volkov’s blog, Corruption, Crime & Compliance.

        The Justice Department has to do something about its timing – and more importantly, they need to re-examine exactly what they did (and are doing) with the criminal prosecution of GM.

        If you want a perfect example of talking out of both sides of your mouth, the last two weeks put the focus right on the leadership of the Justice Department.  The picture is not a pretty one — it is really inexplicable.

        First, with much fanfare and political moxie, the DOJ issued the Yates memorandum, promising to prosecute culpable individuals involved in corporate crime.

        Everyone took the DOJ at its word, read the memorandum and understood what it said and what prosecutors were going to do.

        Second, the next week, and I mean the next week, the DOJ announces the criminal settlement with GM for $900 million for the ignition switch scandal. Let’s take a look at the terms of this deal:

        A deferred prosecution agreement, not a guilty plea
        A $900 million fine and settlement, less than Toyota’s $1.2 billion settlement for accelerator and floor mat safety defects.
        No individuals indicted
        An admission of causing 15 deaths, not the 124 deaths connected to the defect
        Forgive me, but it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the DOJ’s timing could not be worse, and its resolution is embarrassing.

        As a former federal prosecutor and DOJ official, I am disappointed, to say the least, that the Justice Department did not do its job and did not fulfill its obligation to justice. For those victims’ families, my heart goes out to them, and I share their disappointment in the failure of the Justice Department to carry out its mission.

        The GM scandal is one of the most egregious examples of white collar crime resulting in direct harm to the public – the killing of many innocent consumers. It is a story that deserves greater punishment and individual accountability. Unfortunately, now it will go down in history as reflecting a bleak moment for the Justice Department as well as GM.

        The facts surrounding the case, even if you accept the Valukas Report, an internal investigation conducted by one of GM’s primary law firms, is hard to stomach. For over a decade, GM employees, lawyers and senior officials were aware of the ignition switch defect. During this decade, with fits and starts, GM did not fix the problem. Instead, the ignition device defect continued despite the fact that innocent people were being killed, and engineers and lawyers ignored or blatantly derailed internal attempts to address the problem.

        GM’s lawyers were complicit in this cover-up for fear of civil litigation implications. GM’s ethics and compliance function was moribund to the point of nonexistence, and corporate leadership was nowhere to be found.

        The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, for whom I have a lot of professional respect, got it wrong when he told the press, “We’re not done, and it remains possible we will charge an individual,” he said at a news conference. “If there is a way to bring a case like that, we will bring it.”

        That does not sound like a prosecutor who has instructed his troops to investigate a case with the goal of prosecuting culpable individuals. It sounds like a prosecutor who is trying to buy time and justify a failure to act.

        Prosecutors have a variety of tools available to them to bring individuals to justice, and I can assure you that the U.S. Attorney and senior Justice Department officials did not adequately review or push for the prosecution of individuals.

        Whatever the explanation may be for the failure to prosecute culpable individuals, the Justice Department did not advance the ball on its so-called commitment to individual accountability – if anything, they let the public and, most importantly, the victims’ families down.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          This has nothing to do with the GM ignition switch debacle though. Since you don’t know what the punishment is going to be, I’d just advise you to smoke the hookah with the caterpillar. You are already four chapters into Wonderland.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Sure it does.

            Toyota paid more for “mat-gate,” despite hundreds fewer fatalities and injuries, and no smoking gun pointing to Toyota wrongdoing, than GM will likely pay for knowingly allowing 124, at minimum, deaths and hundreds more serious injuries, over a known and concealed defective ignition switch – that many individuals at GM covered up for many years, intentionally!

            VW will likely pay 8x to 15x for this EPA violation, minimum, which resulted in no known deaths or serious injuries, than GM’s killing and maiming of its customers.

            Deny this, and worse yet, try and logically reconcile it, and you’re the one who has fallen down the rabbit hole.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            There most certainly was a smoking gun on Toyota wrong doing.

            Jack wrote it up quite nicely here on TTAC.

            But all things aside, if I follow your logic.

            Is Ford guilty of sin for knowingly slapping bad Texas Instrument relays into their cruise control modules for over a decade and ten million plus models?

            Dozens died, property destroyed (think whole houses burned down).

            How about Honda who knowingly suppressed their engineers who identified as far back as 2004 that Takata airbags had an alarmingly high failure rate. The engineers were silenced and Honda kept using them. And what of Toyota and GM with the Takata airbags? The make/model with the highest chance of a Takata failure? Not a Honda – the 04-07 Corolla/Matrix and Vibe – over a 2% chance that those airbags are actually Claymore mines.

            Or do you just have an unnatural obsession with GM?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Toyota unintended acceleration case doesn’t have anything to do with this either. If I was Toyota, I’d be pissed that GM got a smaller fine, but GM will end up paying WAY more because of the compensation fund they set up and how Mary Barra & Co navigated through the process.

            This is a completely different organization with different rules, penalties, and fines. I’m not going to get in a battle of “fairness” over corporate fines. No, I don’t think this is worse than the GM issue. But the EPA doesn’t give a $hit about that case. It had nothing to do with them.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            EPA don’t care about GM ignition switches or Toyota floor mats. This is a different organization with different rules, fines, penalties, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          As soon as I saw DW’s handle next to that picture of somebody else who’s cooler than he is, I knew the thread was going to turn into another anti-GM rant.

          Yawn.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @bball: You tried valiantly, and I tried on the last VW thread. DW won’t be swayed.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      VW struggles with NOx. DeadWeight struggles with OCD. Those three-letter combinations get you every time.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      Their stock is dropping like a rock in Europe. And deservedly so.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Hey, Dee Dub! you’re comparing a negotiated settlement amount with an opening salvo almost always preceded by the words “up to”. You can do that, but … we may call you out on it.

    • 0 avatar
      hifi

      There is absolutely no indication that GM, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Honda or any other automaker deliberately and knowingly created a product designed to deceive safety or environmental regulations. Selling a car that has a defect, minimizing the impact of the defect then correcting the defect is modus operandi for automakers. But going in head-first with a problem product designed to fool regulators is a new one. And the punishment for VW’s cleverness will probably set a new precedent.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        While much of what you state is true, the difference, and it’s quite significant, is that VW knowingly violated a regulation that allows their vehicles to emit pollutants that exceed EPA standards, while GM sat on, then attempted to revise a known, defective part (successfully hiding it from regulators and consumers for over a decade, btw), that contributed to and/or was the proximate cause of hundreds of deaths and serious injuries.

        In any scenario whereby GM doesn’t pay multiples more than VW, given the disparity in the CONSEQUENCES of each’s wrongdoing (pollution violations vs hundreds of deaths and serious injuries), justice is thwarted and even perverted.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Punishment = Intent x Consequences

          This is why they don’t execute surviving pilots of crashed airplanes, or CEOs of companies that produced bad baby formula.

          It’s also one reason why John Hinckley is back on the street.

          There is more to consider than just consequences.

  • avatar

    The governments continue to come up with NEW REGULATIONS which make not only the American producers less competitive – but the Europeans as well. We are being FORCED into Electric Vehicles ultimately. BMW, Audi and Mercedes will spearhead the next generation of EV.

    And the shame is that people have been indoctrinated to believe in “Global Warming” and just accept the massive taxes and hits on their businesses. Meanwhile, China, India and Africa continue to use whatever energy resources they need to – and each region has far more people than America and Europe combined.

    Ever do the math?

    America has fewer than 330Million.
    Africa = 1 Billion plus
    China = 1 Billion plus
    India = 1 Billion plus.

    So I’m supposed to drive a Prius instead of a Hellcat so that the other 3 Billion Plus can do whatever they want???

    But the vast majority of those people live in abject poverty. They could never be forced to pay these taxes like we could.

    SCAM ARTISTS are SCAM ARTISTS.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      What a complete load of rubbish.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      It’s kind of a disconnect to complain that India, Africa, and China don’t have limits on CO2 emissions, when US citizens still emit far, far, more CO2 per capita than they do.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        The “facts” shell game.

        This is a game played by all sides…and you may or may not know you are even participating.

        You can use all your stats to produce your satisfaction in your beliefs. However, you would be pained to find the truth hidden in the details if allowed to be included. This all depends upon my earlier statement of you knowing or unknowing the true facts.If you are knowingly giving passes for wrongs or misleading stats, then you would not be surprised at all here.

        Take for instance your, as well as the other whole Earhters and the usual leftist The USA Is Bad thinkers…the amount of total damage caused by any single American must be fairly compared to the true damage caused by the populations of these undeveloped and developing nations listed here.

        There MUST be the inclusion of birthrates in these numbers.

        A person in the United Sates driving a Hell Cat must be compared with the man dropping 15 children in Africa. Or India.

        To simply charge somebody with one crime on the evironment and ignore another’s is being blind or purposefully misleading.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        CO2 per capita? So the ethical level of American material quality of life is a function of third world fertility?

        Better than 85% of CO2 emissions isn’t coming from this country. ALL of growth in CO2 emissions isn’t coming from this country. We could fully de-industralize overnight and, ignoring for the moment that that’d break the world economy, the developing world would take up 100% of that slack in 10 to 12 years.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “And the shame is that people have been indoctrinated to believe in “Global Warming”…

      And there’s no denier indoctrination?

      Yeah, OK…

    • 0 avatar
      jthorner

      Yeah, since so many people live outside the USA we should simply do nothing. Brilliant insight! Not.

    • 0 avatar

      BTSR – Having seen your posts and even forcing myself to watch 2 of your YouTube videos, I come to these conclusions:

      – Your world view is based on extreme selfishness, which you probably take as a compliment

      – You’re not as smart as you think you are

      • 0 avatar
        Austin Greene

        I just took your BTSR challenge. Sadly I could only make it through eight minutes of his SRX review. My brain now feels like it’s had all the shielding stripped from its wiring.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    Thank you, TTAC, for not declaring this “Dieselgate.” A lot of people, myself included, are tired of the -gate suffix and it’s already been explained by better posters than myself.

    Instead, I suggest naming this scandal The Dieselcaust.

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    Jalopnik is starting to call this “Dieselgate.” Can the B&B please, for the love of god, come up with a better name that doesn’t include -gate or -ghazi?!? Hurry!

    I’ll start with a few:
    – The Noxwagen Scandal
    – Winkertorn’s Last Stand
    – How To Get Away With Murder: The Parody

  • avatar

    Eventually the moron liberals will figure out that:

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL.

    It’s diesel…what did you expect to come out of the tailpipe?

    Flowers?

  • avatar
    Sky_Render

    I’m not sure who I’m more impressed with: the EPA for actually doing their job competently or VW for the massive middle finger they threw at the EPA.

    I am curious, though, what VW’s official explanation will be. They’ll either have to admit to wrongdoing, apologize, or say that it was a misunderstanding on the part of WVU and the EPA.

    • 0 avatar
      jthorner

      They already admitted wrongdoing.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      EPA didn’t find this. They would have been blissfully ignorant if ICCT hadn’t asked WVU to do real-world testing.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The EPA was too busy intentionally polluting the Animas River so they could designate Silverton a Superfund site and permanently curtail mining in the area. Considering they were willing to destroy the environment to stop mining, one might conclude that protecting the environment isn’t their primary concern.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          No, the EPA did not intentionally pollute the Animas River. That’s the tinfoil hat talking again.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          What proof do you have that it was intentional?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            How about a letter from a retired geologist that predicted the spill ahead of time?

            http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/08/13/geologist-predicted-epa-project-that-caused-toxic-spill-would-fail-within-7-to-120-days/

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Let me rephrase that: What proof do you have from a reputable, unbiased source?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            By which you mean a propaganda agency toeing the fascist line? This was a letter published in a local newspaper before the inevitable spill caused by the EPA to bring about the ends described in the letter. If you don’t know what a real source is, that’s on you.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I like CJ. He’s just as whacked as DW but way more succinct.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            By which I mean a news source that isn’t a thinly-veiled front for right-wing vitriol. The letter itself may have been legitimate (we’ll put aside for a moment that being published in the newspaper of a town pop. 638 is hardly an achievement), but the content in that letter was obviously biased against the EPA.

            Since you began this argument by asserting the EPA intentionally polluted, the burden of proof is on you.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            When a geologist looked at what they were doing and said what the result would be based on known science and explained the reason they were doing it, then I think you need to question your gullibility in believing that the EPA didn’t know what it was doing. If they are so criminally incompetent, what business do they have telling other people what to do?

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by ignorance:

            http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20150628/NEWS01/150629600/EPA-to-plug-Silverton-mine-soon

            I find it easier to believe that the EPA sincerely, though erroneously, believed that their efforts would reduce the ongoing poisoning of the Animas, than to believe (as does Mr Taylor) that they intentionally sought to trigger a catastrophe just so that they would have reason to build a treatment plant, especially since now the bulk of the contaminated water has gone downstream.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      The “middle finger” is when VW buys back all the offending cars, removes _ALL_ the pollution controls, and re-sells them in some other part of the world.

  • avatar

    VW’s actions cannot be condoned in anyway. They cheated, got caught and will now suffer financial impacts of fines and reduced demand for their products.

    I wonder if what we are seeing is an unintended consequence of using car electronics to establish emissions compliance or emissions ratings.

    I have always looked on with puzzlement as annual emission checks are done solely through the OBDII port. Essentially believing everything that the cars computers indicate.

    In the “good old days” stations measured actual emissions coming from the tailpipe and cars I owned would sometimes fail and require work to fix them. Since going to OBDII diagnostics I have never failed an emissions test. I know for a fact I will pass since my check engine light isn’t lit the day I ride up there. Have cars really got that much better? I doubt it. Better maybe, but not flawless.

    Maybe the EPA needs to go old school and measure whats coming out of the tailpipe. And so should the Emissions stations. The word emissions refers to ‘the production and discharge of something, especially gas or radiation.’ Not some electronic computer signal. To measure emissions you have to measure the amount of stuff discharged from the car.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “I have always looked on with puzzlement as annual emission checks are done solely through the OBDII port. Essentially believing everything that the cars computers indicate”

      I see it as: 1. testing is more about back door tax revenue and 2. the odds of an owner successfully tampering with what the OBD computer processes is near zero.

      “Maybe the EPA needs to go old school and measure whats coming out of the tailpipe. And so should the Emissions stations.”

      So long as the systems are not tampered with, they seem to work well. In this state emissions are administered by several select counties and none of the others in a ridiculous fashion. The other counties which do not emissions tax their citizens are supposed to do a visual check to ensure the cat has not been bypassed. I’d like to see cars phase out of testing after say 15 years on the national level and do a simple visual check.

      • 0 avatar

        The VW example is one of corporate tampering on a huge scale.

        But what if a cars computer simply malfunctioned and showed a false positive? It’s not just about tampering at any level, are we to assume car computers are flawless?

        Back to tampering. If I tamper with my timing to pass emissions, I’m breaking the law by subverting the EPA regulations. Enforce the law.

        In addition it would be easy enough to combine tailpipe measurements with data from the OBDII port to establish if the timing was within manufacturers limits at the time the test was performed.

        I have nothing against electronic diagnostics, but 100% reliance on them is rather foolish.

        Even if corporate tampering is present (as with VW) and the computer essentially lies, tailpipe measurements would show a discrepancy and raise suspicion. Had they measured emissions out the tailpipe with something plugged in to the OBD Port and again without they would have seen a change.

        Introducing the OBD port was a good idea. Relying on it exclusively isn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        > the odds of an owner successfully tampering with what the OBD computer processes is near zero.

        True, but many OBD emissions checks are defeatable by simple mechanical means as well. In the Honda tuning community, specifically K-series engines (02+ RSX, Civic Si, etc.) long-tube cat delete headers are an incredibly common modification. A simple non-fouler moves the secondary O2 sensor out of the exhaust stream, fooling the computer into thinking the cat is working as advertised. Plenty of other brands/tuning communities have similar products.

        Certain tuner companies, like T1R, even make these sections with tabs so you can bolt on the factory cat heat shield so you would pass a visual inspection or spot check from law enforcement

        Example pic: http://www.speedstar-racing.com/store/catalog/images/T1R_testpipe_ap.jpg

        I did this years ago, passed every single time. I’m now older and more responsible, and when I sold the car the factory emissions equipment was on it. From that experience, I’d say any check not using a sniffer is a poor test and just a cash grab from taxpayers; it’s too easy to beat to be considered reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      gsally

      There’s also the issue that the software can’t be inspected like something mechanical. What’s running in the car should be open for inspection, to the public, just like the other components under the hood. An audit and certification of the software that it 1) works per requirements and 2) doesn’t circumvent legal requirements would also be a good measures as well.

      The testing we’re seeing is the “black box” sort: twiddling with the input parameters and waiting to see if the output matches expectations. No reason why the EPA couldn’t also perform “white box” testing on the code as well. Somewhere between a code inspection and white box testing, this dodgy code would have been caught.

      The code was probably looking for a certain set of conditions before doing a branch or, if this were table-driven, setting a pointer to three to the “EPA compliance” table instead of the “normal use” table.

      Kind of makes me wonder what the actual source code/symbol table looks like.

      /* are we being tested? */
      inTestMode = (warmUpDuration() == TestwarmUp) && (acclerationRamp() == TestAccelRamp)

      /* double check, testing mode, just in case */
      inTestMode &= ! steeringWheelMoved()
      if (inTestingMode) {
      adjustForEPATesting()
      }

  • avatar
    vvk

    Another example of American protectionism. I was behind a brand new heavy duty pickup yesterday, quickly looking for the recirc button and choking on the black smoke pouring out of its dirty tailpipe. And here we are, punishing a foreign company for trying to give their customers better fuel economy and more power. Why are Ford, GM and Chrysler allowed to build their foul smelling, LOUD, dirty pickups and sell millions of them without worrying about meeting emissions standards remotely close to those required of small cars?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’m no fan of the diesel pickup thing, but as I understand it they don’t come from the factory smoky anymore (at least I don’t see them). I think you got behind some coal roller wannabe.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Slow down there BAFO. Is there really 2 sets of standards? If the pickup was as bad as you say it was, emissions were owner disconnected, bypassed and running an off-road programmer/chip.

      But are you really saying it would’ve been handled any different if it was GM, Ford or Chrysler fukking with the EPA??

    • 0 avatar
      Pahaska

      My 2-year old Silverado Duramax are nearly as quiet as the gasoline engine equivalent. I never hear diesel noise except when against a wall as in a drive-through. I have never detected a diesel smell nor have I emitted diesel smoke in the time I have had the truck. Current diesel pickups are a totally different story from those years ago unless illegally modified.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        How about people standing next to your pickup? Notice how they always roll up their windows?

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You’re looking at modified pickups. Or 1987s. There is so much smog equipment on new diesel pickups, that they’re not really worth owning (or keeping them stock/original).

          If there’s any plus side to it, is they’re so unbelievably clean and quiet. Mine is pre emissions (simple cat/trap, egr w/cooler) ’06 diesel, and unlike ’80s/’90s diesels, there’s no diesel fumes, smell or smoke (unless I’m wide open throttle).

          I stand right by the tailpipe exit, working while it’s running/idling (for the pto) and you wouldn’t know it’s a diesel.

          The new diesel pickups take it to a whole other cleaner, quieter level.

          But where’s this double standard for imports/domestics you speak of??

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Trucks with a GVWR of under 10,000 lbs are subject to the same Tier 2 regulations as passenger cars. So no, you’re wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        I am not wrong because I have eyes and ears and can smell the exhaust. I drive mostly with windows open and I see this every day. There is nothing you can say to convince me that these huge V-8 trucks are cleaner than the TDi VWs that are being accused. The Golfs and the Jettas are quiet and don’t smell. The vast majority of diesel pickups are impossible to drive behind or next to in stop and go traffic without windows closed and climate control on recirc.

        To owners of diesel pickup who say they are clean, maybe if you actually have someone drive your pickup in stop and go traffic and follow behind in a small car with your windows open you will see, hear and smell what I am talking about.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Smoke happens at low combustion temperatures, which also mean low NOx emissions. TDIs were running rich (hot) during normal operation.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Wow, lots of crazy political stuff going on in here – just like the last one.

    My coworker and I were discussing that Euro is probably going to be looking extra hard at VW for a while. Can you imagine the fall out if it turned out they were doing this in the Euro market? Holy cow.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Investigators previously uncovered the problem in the EU and asked US counterparts for help. So I’m guessing, yes, and possibly worldwide.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’m so comforted to know that Big Government is on top of things in terms of policing manufacturers and making sure that their products are as represented and, most importantly, safe!*

      *Just kidding! – VW was busted by independent testing! Their “clean diesels” emit 10x to 40x more NOx than is allowed by law…whoops!

      “How did the EPA find out?

      Independent testing, and amazingly, testing that sought to prove VW’s diesels were really clean.

      Bloomberg has a good recap of how this went down: A relatively small clean-air NGO, the International Council on Clean Transportation, noticed discrepancies between tests of diesel Volkswagens in Europe, so they borrowed equipment from West Virginia University to test the cars’ actual emissions in real-world driving in the U.S.

      How did the EPA find out? Independent testing, and amazingly, testing that sought to prove VW’s diesels were really clean.

      Bloomberg has a good recap of how this went down: A relatively small clean-air NGO, the International Council on Clean Transportation, noticed discrepancies between tests of diesel Volkswagens in Europe, so they borrowed equipment from West Virginia University to test the cars’ actual emissions in real-world driving in the U.S.

      Rather than trying to cast doubts on Volkswagen, they’d hoped to prove that small diesels like the cars VW made could run cleanly. As they told Bloomberg:

      “We had no cause for suspicion,” German, U.S. co-lead of the International Council on Clean Transportation, said in an interview. “We thought the vehicles would be clean.”

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        OK, but “the market” isn’t going to punish companies who pull this kind of garbage. Nor will “NGOs.” Nope, it’s going to the big bad gummint who actually holds companies to task.

        • 0 avatar
          JD23

          “OK, but “the market” isn’t going to punish companies who pull this kind of garbage. ”

          You don’t think that VW’s TDI sales will decline after consumers discover that VW has been manipulating emissions test results?

  • avatar

    This might be the perfect opportunity for VW to merge with FCA. The U.S. government will be afraid to fine the combined company too harshly to protect the American jobs that the Chrysler portion would provide. VW/FCA would instantly become the world’s largest automaker (if they aren’t already). The company will have huge economies of scale and Sergio will get his dance partner deal done and waltz off into the sunset with a huge bag load of cash.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      If VW merged with GM, they could get a “deferred sentence,” and essentially escape any and all meaningful punishment.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        In May the VW Group market cap was $126B with $424B in assets, $14.39B in profit against $268B in revenue, and its lost 20% in trading today. An $18 billion dollar fine won’t bankrupt them, but it could really hurt them in the short term unless they have billions in cash reserves at the ready.

        http://www.forbes.com/companies/volkswagen-group/

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Some day, I’m going to become rich when I invent a Bayesian AI that can automatically delete political posts on forums.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The comments here make me weep for our future. I really can’t believe that this many people are this far down the rabbit hole with tinfoil hats wrapped that tightly around their heads.

    VW is no anti-government stick it to the man hero here. As was Ford was no hero when it tried to game IIHS crash tests earlier this year (amazing how everyone has already forgotten that). As GM was no hero over ignition switches. As Toyota was no hero on floor mats, gas pedals, and ignoring parts problems. As FCA is no hero on offering no real fix on their bread and butter Ram truck steering problems for years. As Ford was no hero for ignoring bad Texas Instrument cruise control relays for a decade. As Honda is no hero for suppressing their own internal research showing airbags from a key supplier had a 1% to 2% chance of actually being Claymore mines. As Ford was no hero for convincing regulators that having tires on Explorers below the minimum pressure standard required by Firestone by design of Ford, was Firestone’s fault. Or how about noble Kia, which knowingly gamed MPG certification and lied about fuel economy on the Soul. Or what about poor picked on Hyundai, no hero for also misleading MPG. Or how about Ford and the C-Max which had its MPG trimmed down twice, and is not a pariah to customers with massive rebates on the hoods and almost no takers. Yes, Ford, quite honorable when you look at their list.
    And this list of poor picked on auto makers if I believe the tinfoil hat wearing folks posting here goes on and on and on. Memories are short.

    VW made a conscious decision to write computer code that could detect when a vehicle was having an emissions test, and would essentially “engage” the emission system to work as designed. The system would otherwise basically bypass the ignition system. 25% of their vehicles sold in the US being diesel, and no other manufacturer has been able to match their price points or performance. Mazda has all but given up bringing diesel here. The small GM diesels have a massive price premium and only an incremental improvement over the 1.4T turbo gas engine as two immediate examples. Well now we know why – superior German computer programming from a company with a long history of ironically, not being able to get electronics right.

    For the idea that this is some witch hunt, Germany has already announced they are going to conduct their own testing to see if the cars in Europe have the same issue – what to take any bets? But hey, you know, why would Germany go after the largest car maker in the world headquartered in…Germany. Conspiracy I tell you, conspiracy.

    The malfeasance goes beyond gaming the emissions system to have cars pass, that had no chance of passing. This was a willing decision, not incompetence. This was, “we can’t pass the test, so we’ll cheat the test, go write some code.” Period. There is no spin or sanitation of this. GM or Mazda doesn’t get some free pass on their diesel vehicles. The Cruze diesel is so over priced to its gas cousin it doesn’t sell and Mazda can’t even get their diesel certified. Yes, poor VW and Audi are being picked on apparently.

    What about those who bought into VWs marketing of clean, efficient, fun to drive power.

    Clean. No. When they’re done reprogramming these computers fun to drive power? Unlikely. Along with MPG being clipped, and increased maintenance problems on systems that were unnaturally reliable to begin with.

    VW lied to the government, actively, willingly, purposely cheated on tests (and if I were to speculate, we’ll learn in the coming weeks on a global scale, not just the US), they lied to their customers, they lied to their shareholders.

    This wasn’t incompetence. This was a willing decision. Just as someone in Ford made a willing decision to try and game the IIHS crash tests. Just as someone at Hyundai/Kia made a willing business decision to inflate MPG numbers. Just as Ford made a willing business decision to inflate C-Max MPG numbers.

    Ford cruise control modules, exploding Firestone tires, exploding Takata airbags, floor mats and gas pedal design that encouraged entrapment at Toyota, GM ignition switches are all business incompetence and too many layers of management. Those who figured it out were either silenced (Ford cruise control, Takata airbags at Honda, Toyota floor mats and gas pedals, and GM ignition switches) or the people who did know could not get the ears of senior management to do something. Either bean counters made the decisions, or engineers were silenced for stirring the pot, or it was concluded to not be that bad of a problem. In one case the issue was harder to see over a number of disconnected make and models, making the puzzle pieces harder to put together for regulators and officials.

    But what VW does is a whole different level of suck. Sure, no one died, but regulations are in place for a reason and if company X doesn’t play by the rules, they why should anyone else.

    I for one do not long for the days when a stagnant air day in Houston resembled Beijing in spring, where the Great Lakes caught on fire, and as a kid I had to go run and inside the house because the insecticides there were spraying were also highly toxic to humans. I suspect a number of people posting here aren’t old enough to remember those days.

    What VW did sucked – big time – and was illegal on numerous fronts. They are no hero. There is no witch hunt. They aren’t being singled out for special treatment.

    The wails of singled out for special treatment is particular ridiculous since if I’m to believe the B&B Toyota was singled out for special treatment, followed by Honda/Takata, then followed by FCA, and now VW, and yet somehow GM which is paying billions in settlement to victims and a $9000 million fine got a “free pass”.

    If everyone is being singled out for special treatment, how is anyone special exactly – if I follow the twisted logic.

    Gads, I weep for our future if this is the level of intellect of the breeding and voting public.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      So the answer is, Panther Love?

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Thank you, QOTD, guest editorial, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Excellent screed/rant.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “I for one do not long for the days when a stagnant air day in Houston resembled Beijing in spring, where the Great Lakes caught on fire, and as a kid I had to go run and inside the house because the insecticides there were spraying were also highly toxic to humans. I suspect a number of people posting here aren’t old enough to remember those days.”

      Yep, I’m old enough…I also remember less than 20 years ago, when driving eastbound on I-70 from the mountains into Denver meant descending through the infamous “brown cloud.” It was sort of like descending through clouds in an airplane. If nothing had been done about it, I can’t even imagine how bad it would be today.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Bring back independent Saab!

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      Excellent post, aPaGttH. VW is going to get its hand slapped like those other manufacturers, and life will go on. I’m certain the European investigations will find similar levels of cheating and probably extend to Daimler, BMW, and Fiat. One interesting conjecture is that this may be the nail in the coffin for passenger car diesel applications with acceleration of hybrid solutions.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        The interesting thing is that this only targets the VW/Audi 2.0TDI, not the larger, far more expensive 3.0 plant.

        I’ve thought for a while now that the future of diesel is not looking very good in light of electrification and some big improvements in traditional dinofuel units. VWs own 1.4 and 2.0TFSI units get very good mileage (~30-33mpg in transverse unit); pair that with some electrification and you’re easily matching and surpassing diesel.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          The 3.0 TDI uses DPF injection, which VW desperately wanted to avoid in the cheaper models with the 2.0 engine.

          Family Touareg TDI has had DPF tank sensor failure. This is a big deal because the system will ground you if it thinks the DPF tank is empty. #NOx sensor #1 failed, VW replaced under warranty. #NOx sensor #2 failed, VW said it’s not covered under warranty. Turns out the sensors apparently don’t like winter grade US diesel as it never throws a code in warm weather. Since driveability is not impacted and it’s a $400 sensor, we just got it inspected early and reset the due dates to the warm season.

          VW might not have had to resort to their little gimmick if US diesel wasn’t such swill.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “VW might not have had to resort to their little gimmick if US diesel wasn’t such swill.”

            Ja! JA! See you, it vasn’t our fault! Ve vere in ze back by ze Amis’ own scheiss diesel schtabbed! Ve hadt no choice!

            Not kennt kein Gebot!

  • avatar
    mchan1

    For VW… when it rains, it pours!
    As of today, VW’s stock value dropped ~20%.
    It never had a chance to improve its image or its vehicles’ quality! No wonder it can NOT do well in [North] America!

    VW lied, hid that fact, sold the vehicles, was found out and now it came back and bit it in its arse!
    Does this qualify as F-R-A-U-D?

    No one was hurt or killed but then again…
    Doesn’t this mean polluting (i.e. hurting) the atmosphere?
    Others can argue the politics/consequences about that.

    Based on the media reports, this affects the 2.0 TDI engines but it appears that all VW diesels in America has been stopped for sale. The news has spread quickly and so has the consequences of what VW did!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    This will cost VAG billions. There stock price was down 20% at open, which equates roughly to 16b, follow that with the requisite fine and the ensuing further stock price drop once that is announced and I am willing to bet this fiasco scratches 100b. Fines + drop in stock price + consumer law suit + shareholder suit + loss of brand equity + dealer suit = very bad time to be a VAG executive.

    How can one claim this is big gubment at work? Outside testing facilities found the discrepancy and made the gubment aware of the situation, which they in turn then looked into. Other manufacturers are very much inclined to keep each other honest as they want to know why they can’t keep up in some cases. Which in this case we know why, they weren’t.

    I agree with what has been noted above, DW keeps coming back to the GM ignition as the apex of corporate malfeasance. Personally, I feel the Takata airbag mess is far larger of a corporate coverup. I don’t believe we fully know how many Takata claymores are actually on the roads at this point. This VW deal takes the cake, as they knowingly created a brand ‘TDI clean diesel’ around what we now know to be false and then sold it the world. This was a top down fraud perpetrated on two continents or more.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      What will be very interesting to observe is how this will affect other things in the industry. One thing which comes to mind is Sergio’s interest in a merger. Pch101 suggested part of his motivation is defending market share in Europe. If VAG starts to lose some because of this, it would take pressure off of FCA.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Others will most definitely receive ancillary benefits from this. You can bet conversations are being had right now along the lines of ‘I need 100% assurance this is not happening in our ECMS!’.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I doubt that anyone outside the United States who isn’t in VW management or owns VAG stock will care one whit about this. Not many Americans will care, either, since they weren’t buying diesel Volkswagens to begin with.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I have a hard time believing that this issue wasn’t initially discovered by a competitor. It seems to me that any automaker trying to develop and or sell diesel cars in the US would be interested in how VW reached emissions target and did not use urea. A few tests by Honda, Ford, GM, maybe even Mercedes or BMW who are also pushing diesel could have found some fishy results warranting further investigation. I am sure every automaker selling cars in the US has at one time or another taken apart and studied VW’s TDI engine. I would think that another German Automaker would have the most to gain by outing VW.

    I am sure that every automaker is scrambling right now to make sure nothing similar is happening in their lineups. Never know, there may be more dominos to fall.

    • 0 avatar
      hf_auto

      Or (conspiracy theory warning) Piech? It’s not beyond belief that he may have pulled some levers to replace Winkertorn with someone he can control.

      That said, it seems unlikely and idiotic- Piech is losing a lot of money on this. There should be better, cheaper ways to save face.

      • 0 avatar

        Agree, Piech would lose a good chunk of his fortune. And while he’s a nasty turd, this malfeasance was going on long before his latest political struggles at VAG. Piech may be able to do a credible “I Knew NOTHING!” defense here.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      I’m kinda surprised too given the troubles everyone else has had getting their cars to meet regs, I would have thought they would have torn up TDI models trying to figure out how VW managed to meet regulations so cheaply.

      But maybe nobody figured they could have done something that blatant?

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Talk about arrogance!

    I’ve always admired German cars, and I generally like VW/Audi products.

    However, if the written accounts are true, the sons of the Reich (or their American or Chinese or whatever employees) KNOWINGLY devised a way to the beat the test, flout the law.

    While this does not absolve the other carmakers of their sins, the others are generally inconsequential, as long as one is fortunate enough not to be in an accident.

    This one, the car is constantly spewing into the air. We all share the air.

    On the other hand, if that’s what it takes to have a driveable diesel (which reduced CO and CO2 emissions compared to gas), maybe it’s not such big deal, since the US govt, rather than tax fuel, seems to think it can ‘legislate’ efficiency. This is one result.

    Maybe flouting an unworkable law will actually win VW customers from the GOP “conservative” ranks…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I can’t find a reliable chart on US diesel standards, however the amount of allowable NOx in Euro6 declined 68% from 2005 (Euro4). I do not know, but I imagine the US equivalent is similar. The amount of NOx emitted from gasoline engines declined 25% in the same nine year period. So before you factor in the engineering challenges, the standards are already quite unreasonable vs 2005. Diesel sales comprised 25% of VWoA sales and I imagine higher in Europe therefore it must have been decided the risk was worth it for 25% or more of all sales. What I also find interesting is the fact emissions “up to forty times” the limit, which would make them multiples worse than the Euro4 standard which was met at the time and was mostly likely done without sophisticated emissions controls. So even with emissions technology like DEF the NOx released was still up to forty times worse? Whaaaat?

      “Diesel-equipped models like the Jetta and Golf have accounted for about 25% of the maker’s U.S. sales in recent year”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_emission_standards

  • avatar
    hreardon

    VW screwed the pooch. Big time. They’re going to pay for it.

    But like Toyota and their accelerator issue, GM and the keylocks, Ford and their Firestones, Honda and their Airbags, Jeep for their gas tanks…this too shall pass and consumers will forget. May be next week, may be next year, or it may be ten years.

    Where things will get *really* messy is if the European regulators find that Volkswagen lied about EU market vehicles. At that point, Winterkorn, and likely a bunch of other C-level players at VW are all toast.

    It’s hard to tell how this will all play out for those who currently own TDIs; did the comparable Ford, Honda, Toyota and Jeeps experience massive depreciation on those models, or again, did people forget within a few months and did life (relatively speaking) go back to normal?

    This debacle could really be a watershed for the whole regulatory/manufacturer dynamic.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The complication for TDI owners is that, if they live in areas that tie emissions testing to registration, they may have their vehicle renewals denied until and unless VW can implement a satisfactory fix. Who knows how many years that could take?

  • avatar
    lon888

    I’m on the “U.S. manufacturers protection bandwagon”. When I get behind a new Ford, GM or Dodge diesel truck, its obvious its a diesel. It stinks and clatters. When I get behind a new VW diesel its quiet and doesn’t stink. Makes me wonder…

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      If the US government was going to unfairly railroad a foreign automaker to aide the domestics why would they target VW diesels?

      A Jetta TDI doesn’t compete at all with the trucks and vans that make up ~97% of US manufacturer diesel volume and VW doesn’t sell that many vehicles in the US in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      In my experience, and the experience of most others here, unless it’s been intentionally modified, a new diesel pickup is barely smelly or loud at all. This isn’t 1985.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    I would suggest that this is why VW seemed so far and away better on EPA numbers with the TDI than the Diesel Cruze – which, GM ostensibly should be able to compete hauling over a competitive diesel engine in a small car – but it’s probably just that GM is too slow on the uptake to game things correctly.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I imagine VW dealers will have a bone to pick with VAG concerning floor plan they’re paying on vehicles they are not allowed to sell.

    Fines, class action suits, damaged goodwill… time for some Foxconn-grade suicide nets in Wolfsburg.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Wonder if it’ll get to the Merkel – Obama level. I’m sure there’s plenty of backroom maneuvers available.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Art Vandelay: So many fncking cheese d!cks in this thread. Anyway, I hope the current group of sh!+heads in office...
  • mcs: “because they were developed under Trump’s administration” Actually, they were not developed under...
  • slavuta: Old_WRX Remember, when Trump was president, CDC guidance was to write every death as covid if it tested...
  • slavuta: It is all “philosophical” until you get it. There are more studies on that site with real cases
  • Lou_BC: LOL

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber