Report: Volkswagen's Reported Death and Injury Claims May Be Too Low

A study commissioned by Bloomberg, conducted by Stout Risius Ross, revealed that Volkswagen’s rate of injury or fatal crashes reported by the automaker was significantly lower than 11 other automakers and nine times less than the industry average.

“The data demonstrates that even on a fleet-adjusted basis, the number of reported incidents by Volkswagen is significantly below what one would expect based on those reported by other automakers,” Neil Steinkamp, a Stout Risius managing director, told Bloomberg. “They are also significantly below the reporting of automakers that have already been cited for non-compliance.”

The report calls into question whether Volkswagen has been accurately reporting crashes, as required by law. Volkswagen didn’t comment on the report.

Last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported that it had under-reported death and injury claims to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act. Earlier this year, Honda was fined $70 million for its errors in reporting under the law.

According to Bloomberg, an auto watchdog group said the low numbers from Volkswagen indicated that the automaker may not be correctly reporting safety data.

“NHTSA doesn’t have the resources to police all of this, but now they’re asking the automakers to tell them whether they’re in compliance,” Clarence Ditlow, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety, told Bloomber. “For the automakers, it’s a time of reckoning.”

Volkswagen reported 34 serious crashes for every million cars, according to the data. By comparison, General Motors reported 524 crashes per million vehicles and Nissan reported 78 crashes per million. Honda and FCA, who admitted they under-reported, reported 78 and 101 crashes per million respectively.

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  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Oct 12, 2015

    The cause is obvious. VW drivers are sooo much more skilled than non-VW drivers. At least that's what VW drivers seem to want everyone to believe.

  • Flybrian Flybrian on Oct 12, 2015

    Does this include accidents caused by loss of control after dried trim adhesive gets into the driver's eyes? When vision is obscured by a falling headliner? When first responders cannot access the occupant because of a broken door handle? When occupants can't escape a vehicle because the interior door pull has disintegrated? When an owner suffers a stroke after reading a repair estimate for a scrambled key that requires a $1200 instrument cluster because that's where the immobilizer is ?

    • Northeaster Northeaster on Oct 13, 2015

      C'mon, it's the rain blowing in the driver's face through his/her window (which is open because the window regulator clips have failed) that causes most of the unreported accidents.

  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?
  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.
  • FreedMike How about the “Aztek” package? Wait, this car already has that…Said it before and I’ll say it again: they need to restyle the hind end on this car, stat.