The Volkswagen Diesel Saga So Far

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
the volkswagen diesel saga so far

On Friday, September 18, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen that its cars violated clean air standards by incorporating a “defeat device” that used engine management controls to cheat emissions tests.

Since the EPA’s letter to VW, and subsequent order to recall nearly 482,000 Volkswagen cars, the scandal has deepened and developed with Volkswagen shedding billions in value in markets worldwide, halting sales of its cars in the U.S. and Canada, shuffling executives to other seats or out the door entirely, and other regulatory agencies jumping in to investigate.

Here’s a roundup of the stories so far.

September 18

EPA Recalling Volkswagens, Audis for Bogus Emissions Tests

The EPA took the rare step of recalling more than 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi cars for using a “defeat device” to force the cars to comply with emissions.

September 19

Consumer Reports Strips ‘Recommended’ Rating From VW TDIs

Consumer Reports stripped the Passat TDI and Jetta TDI models of its “recommended” rating until recall work is complete.

September 21

Volkswagen’s Diesel Cars Have Been Sitting at U.S. Ports for Months

Some U.S. customers waited for their new cars for months without an explanation from Volkswagen, Audi or the EPA.

Billions Erased From Volkswagen’s Value in Stock Slide

More than $17 billion has been erased Monday from VW’s value in as the company awaits more fallout from news that the company cheated emissions tests.

VW, Audi in Canada Halting Sales of TDI Cars Following US Inquiry

Volkswagen in Canada will suspend sales of its Volkswagen Passat, Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 cars.

Volkswagen Facing Criminal Charges in Emissions Probe

The investigation that Volkswagen installed illegal “defeat devices” on its cars to cheat emissions tests will reach the U.S. Department of Justice.

September 22

Volkswagen Sets Aside €6.5 Billion to Cover 11 Million Vehicles with Cheating Emissions Software

The automaker has admitted the emissions software has been used on 11 million vehicles sold worldwide.

EPA Expands Emissions Investigation to Volkswagen 3.0-Liter V6 Diesels

The larger diesel mill is used in the Touareg, Audi A6/A7/A8/Q7, and Porsche Cayenne.

Winterkorn To Be Replaced By Porsche CEO Matthias Müller on Friday

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn will be replaced at the end of the week by Porsche CEO Matthias Müller, reports Der Tagesspiegel.

VW US Chief: ‘We Have Totally Screwed Up’

“Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you. And in my German words: We have totally screwed up.”

Here’s What It Might Cost to Fix Every 2.0 TDI Volkswagen

The presumed fix would come by retrofitting a Selective Catalytic Reduction (Adblue or urea) system although that wouldn’t be the only fix necessary.

Volkswagen Emissions Fix May Not Last Long Thanks to Aftermarket Tuners

The aftermarket community has provided modifications for the DPF and Adblue systems in the past, meaning there’s good chance they’ll provide parts and tuning to revert any changes Volkswagen may implement on the affected models.

Volkswagen May Offer More Cash to Dealers As It Skids Completely Out of Control

Amid slumping sales and a snowballing diesel-emissions crisis, Volkswagen announced Monday a plan to offer more money to dealers for cars that they can sell

NHTSA Chief: VW’s Cheating Hurts ‘Public Confidence’ in Industry

Mark Rosekind says deception like VW’s admission that they cheated on emissions tests erodes confidence in car buyers.

September 23

Volkswagen Board Holding Emergency Meeting Ahead of Planned Friday Conference

Five senior members of Volkswagen’s supervisory board are meeting to discuss the future for the automaker and its CEO.

Volkswagen of America Was in Very Rough Shape Before the Emissions Scandal

The diesel emissions scandal isn’t tarnishing a good situation. It’s making a bad situation much, much worse.

VW Chief Resigns After Emissions Scandal

Winterkorn resigned five days after it was announced that 482,000 Volkswagens in the U.S. had illegal “defeat devices” that allowed them to cheat through emissions tests.

VW Supervisory Board: Heads Will Continue to Roll

As part of now-former CEO Martin Winterkorn’s resignation, the Executive Committee of Volkswagen AG’s Supervisory Board has also issued a statement.

After the NOx Particulates Settle, Everyone Loses

A few things are going to happen. None of it will be pretty. Nobody is going to walk away from this without oily blowback on their faces.

September 24

Tech Dive: How the Chevy Cruze Diesel Stays Clean

While General Motors may have some explaining to do for the 1.6-liter diesel in Europe, the 2.0-liter may actually be as clean as it promises.

Volkswagen Powertrain, Technical Development Personnel Next To Get The Axe?

Next personnel to be shown the door could have been integral to powertrain development during the time when vehicles were fitted with “defeat devices”.

Lawyers Quicker Off The Line To Sue Volkswagen Than Broken TDIs

Hours after the EPA notified Volkswagen of its violation, class action suits were being filed on behalf of owners in federal courts across the country.

Feds Say They’ll Tighten Emissions Tests to Catch Cheaters

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency said they’ll change regulations to hopefully catch carmakers who cheat on emissions tests in the future.

Škoda CEO Tipped to Take Over Volkswagen US, Horn Out

The Chairman of the Board of Management for Škoda, Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland, is expected to replace Michael Horn as CEO of Volkswagen of America.

Dirty Diesel Report Sinking BMW As Volkswagen Fallout Grows

German magazine Auto Bild reported Thursday that the diesel BMW X3 exceeded by 11 times allowable limits of nitrogen oxide in Europe.

Don’t Cry For Winterkorn Just Yet; Former CEO Could Get $67M Handshake

Ousted Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn could receive up to $67 million after leaving the automaker this week, depending on how his exit pay is calculated

Report: Matthias Müller to Take Over Volkswagen

The 62-year-old head of Porsche will be seen as a CEO that is friendly to rank-and-file workers at Volkswagen.

September 25

Biofuel Makers May Have Known About Volkswagen Emissions Rigging for Years

The two California-based companies were given the Volkswagen vehicles to test their biofuels.

QOTD: How Much Do People Really Care About Emissions?

I ask this because I’ve read a huge number of forum posts, comment replies, Tweets, and Facebook statuses from Volkswagen TDI owners over the past few days.

Used Car Dealers Line Up Against Volkswagen

A proposed class action lawsuit filed against Volkswagen alleges that used car dealerships could be on the hook for thousands of unsaleable cars.

This is Why Volkswagen Won’t Pay $18 Billion

According to the EPA’s own penalty worksheet, Volkswagen could end up paying about $3.15 billion more than Hyundai and Kia.

Matthias Müller Will Take Over At Volkswagen, Vahland Becomes Horn’s Boss

Making official what we’ve heard for a while, Porsche CEO Matthias Müller will take the reigns at Volkswagen.

Automakers’ Denials of Cheating Actually Faster Than Many of Their Cars

This week, automakers around the world issued statements that their diesel cars and how they definitely don’t cheat like someone else you may’ve heard of.

Report: Taxpayers Paid $20.7 Million For ‘Clunker’ Volkswagen Diesels

A report by Yahoo Autos shows that U.S. taxpayers may have shelled out more than $20 million for VW diesel cars that cheated through emissions tests.

September 26

Swiss Officials Issue Temporary Volkswagen Diesel Sales Ban

Volkswagen’s pain parade marches on, this time to Switzerland, which has temporarily banned sales of the automaker’s diesels.

Possible Volkswagen-Red Bull F1 Engine Deal ‘Up In Smoke’

Red Bull’s F1 team is the latest victim of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, as a possible deal between the team and the automaker has gone “up in smoke.”

September 27

Volkswagen Warned About Cheating As Early As 2007

While the EPA recently revealed Volkswagen’s diesels were cheating emissions tests, two newspapers learned VW was warned about cheating as early as 2007.

Volkswagen of America Temporarily Reins In Adverts Amid Diesel Scandal

If, while watching your team crush it this weekend, you see few Volkswagen ads, you’re not alone; VW of America is reigning in advertising for two weeks.

Discount Hunters Find Silver Lining In Volkswagen’s Diesel Clouds

While some declare Volkswagen dead in their betrayed hearts over the recent emissions scandal, others see an opportunity for a discount on a diesel.

September 28

Audi: More Than 2 Million Cars Worldwide Have Illegal Software

Audi said that 2.1 million of its cars worldwide have been fitted with illegal software to help it cheat emissions tests.

German Prosecutors Investigating VW’s Former Chief Winterkorn

German investigators are looking into whether former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn knew the automaker was selling cars with an illegal “defeat device.”

Report: Supplier Warned VW About Illegal Device in 2007

Bosch engineers told Volkswagen engineers in 2007 that software it had installed on cars for testing, which made it into road cars, was illegal.

European Group Says Pretty Much Everyone is Lying About Efficiency

An environmental group in Europe is saying most of the world’s automakers are misreporting emissions and fuel economy on tests.

September 29

Volkswagen Will Recall, ‘Refit’ 11 Million Cars in Coming Days

New Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller says the company has a plan to “refit” more than 11 million cars with illegal emissions cheating software.

Musk: Volkswagen’s ‘Trickery’ May Have Been Only Option

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told reporters that advancing internal combustion engines is harder and that Volkswagen engineers may have lied out of necessity.

Report: VW’s Dirty Diesels May Have Caused Up to 100 Deaths

A report by the New York Times estimates that Volkswagen may have contributed to more than 100 premature deaths in the U.S.

Diesel GM Canyon/Colorado Twins First to Feel EPA’s Wrath

The diesel versions of the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon will be the first to undergo increased scrutiny from the EPA on their emissions.

September 30

Portlandian Plants “Nazi” Note On Dirty Diesel VW

“Hello, VW TDI owner. While cute, your TDI is outfitted with a cheating device meant to elude emission standards.”

Bark’s Bites: Dieselgate is Deja Vu All Over Again

I have a feeling that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of the dirty pool that Volkswagen played in this scandal.

Porsche’s New CEO Oliver Blume is a Company Man

The successor to Matthias Müller has been with Volkswagen AG for more than 20 years and has been head of production at Porsche and SEAT.

Green Car Journal Strips Volkswagen, Audi of Awards

Green Car Journal announced that they would rescind two awards given to vehicles that are now part of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions debacle.

October 1

German Prosecutors Backtrack on Winterkorn Focus for Investigation

German prosecutors Thursday said they focused too quickly on former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn for the scandal that has engulfed the German carmaker.

Volkswagen Finds Hatches, Battens Them, and Braces for Massive Business Storm

The German automaker is preparing for a hit to its business by freezing hiring and cutting a shift at one of its engine plants.

Hammer Time: How Can Volkswagen Save Themselves?

What does it mean when a branded dealer pulls all its brand’s cars from the front line? Trouble — and lots of it.

FCA Wins, Volkswagen Loses in Average New Car Price During September

Nearly every automaker posted gains in average new car price paid in September 2015. The average new car cost $33,730.

Volkswagen Planning Capital Push to Raise Money For Scandal

The German automaker may cut costs and boost cash flow before resorting to offering parts of the company to outside investors.

Report: Volkswagen Investigation May Take Months

The VW investigation into how the company produced 11 million cars with illegal “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests will take several months.

October 2

Did Other OEMs Know Volkswagen Was Cheating?

When I asked the Ford engine control engineer if he knew Volkswagen was cheating, that’s when it got interesting. He didn’t say no.

Did Volkswagen USA Sales Really Increase In September? Sort Of

Monthly sales may have increased for Volkswagen’s American unit, but digging into the numbers tells a very different story.

Audi Germany Creates Website to Identify Illegal Diesel Cars

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”.

German Authorities Say Volkswagen Was Alone in Cheating

German transportation authorities said Friday that Volkswagen can’t phone a friend for help, they’re on their own.

Volkswagen Canada Offering $2,000 Discount to TDI Owners to Buy Literally Any VW [Update]

Volkswagen Canada is offering a $2,000 incentive for current TDI owners, regardless of the age of the car or type of TDI engine, toward any other new Volkswagen model.

October 3

Volkswagen May Cut R&D Budget to Fend Off “Existence-Threatening Crisis”

Volkswagen’s incoming chairman said the emissions scandal is “a threat to the firm’s viability albeit a surmountable one,” reports Reuters.

TFLCar’s Jetta Dyno Test Doesn’t Show Us “Test Mode”

While I applaud the idea of finding an affected car and trying to generate real-world test results, the tests shown do not correlate to an actual EPA test.

October 4

UK Researcher: Basically Every Diesel Automaker is Illegally Polluting

A researcher from Leeds University says that at least four other automakers’ cars are polluting above the legal limits for Europe.

October 5

Interbrand: Toyota Most Valuable Car Brand, Volkswagen Sinks

Interbrand’s annual survey of Top 100 Brands lists Toyota as the most valuable car company with BMW and Mercedes-Benz the next most-valuable brands.

Volkswagen Hasn’t Found Their Fall Guys (or Gals) Yet

According to Reuters, Volkswagen may have suspended engineers — including top engineers for Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche — without any evidence.

October 6

Volkswagen CEO Müller Tells Employees That Future Won’t Be ‘Painless’

Speaking to 20,000 Volkswagen workers, CEO Matthias Müller said the company would make “massive cutbacks” to pay for diesel crisis.

Volkswagen Says EVs ‘Key Part’ of Its Future (If History Doesn’t Repeat Itself)

Volkswagen could be looking for ways to not repeat history, when a 1960s lawsuit crippled development well into the 1980s.

October 7

Report: Volkswagen Lobbied for More Tax Credits for Diesels

Volkswagen lobbied hard in 2011 to receive the same — or higher — clean vehicle credits as electric cars

Volkswagen’s Board Confirms New Chairman, Wishes Him Good Luck on Difficult First Day

Volkswagen’s supervisory board confirmed its appointment of Hans Dieter Pötsch to its top seat during a scandal rocking the 78-year-old automaker, the company announced.

Müller: Volkswagen Recalling European Cars Starting in January

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller told German authorities that the company would begin recalling cars in Europe in January and that fixes those cars take roughly one year to complete

October 8

Bosch Didn’t Supply Cheating Software on Dirty Diesels

A former federal official and the Environmental Protection Agency said that German supplier Bosch didn’t supply Volkswagen — or other automakers — with cheating software, implying that Volkswagen engineers acted alone in deceiving emission tests

Volkswagen of America CEO Horn: We Need to ‘Bloody Learn’ to Get Act Together

“I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” Horn said in a prepared response before answering questions from representatives.

Investigators Raid Volkswagen Offices, Private Residences in Germany

Volkswagen offices and private residences were raided Thursday morning in Wolfsburg as part of the ongoing investigation into the company’s emission scheme that saw “defeat devices” used in its 2.0-liter diesel vehicles

Everything Is Going Well Over In Europe (Video)

Meanwhile, over in the EU, no one appears to have lost their minds over the Volkswagen scandal. Not at all. Totally sane.

Volkswagen in America CEO Had More Than One Year To Deal With Cheating Diesels

In a prepared statement released ahead of congressional testimony Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn said the automaker knew of emissions issues last spring when West Virginia University researchers published findings that the automaker’s cars were illegally polluting.

October 9

Volkswagen’s Withdrawal of EPA Application Is Not Because of ‘Defeat Device’

During his voluntary testimony for a congressional committee Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn announced the company would withdraw their application for emissions certification for 2016 model year Volkswagens powered by 2-liter diesel engines.

Volkswagen’s 800,000 Sales Goal in US by 2018 is Definitely Toast

Volkswagen wanted to sell 800,000 cars in America in 2018? In 2015, Volkswagen will only sell 350,000 if they’re struck by dumb luck, a stroke of serendipitous karma, and the kind of fortuitous bounce that would make Bubba Watson blush.

Meeting Advertised Mileage Could Save Volkswagen Money

Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn told a congressional committee that the fixed diesel cars would achieve the fuel economy figures advertised on the cars when they were purchased as new.

Volkswagen Spends Its Money On The Wrong Things

Volkswagen is the car company equivalent to the guy who earns $200,000 per year and still manages to fall behind on his mortgage payments. And here’s why I say that.

October 12

Volkswagen Debt Downgraded; Company Asking For Supplier Help

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Volkswagen’s rating on long-term debt and said the company’s diesel scandal indicates poor management. The financial agency further warned that its debt rating could be cut further if the automaker doesn’t immediately address the deepening scandal

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

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.

Volkswagens in The UK Won’t Get Same Fixes as US Cars

Volkswagen’s chief in the United Kingdom told representatives that cars in that country likely wouldn’t need expensive urea tanks retrofitted to those cars to comply with emissions standards.

October 13

VW Chattanooga Building Hundreds of Passat TDIs Without Front Fascias

Volkswagen is ramping up production of the new Passat TDI despite not being certified by the Environmental Protection Agency regarding its emissions.

No More LNTs for Volkswagen Diesels; Phaeton Goes All-electric

Volkswagen in Germany announced Tuesday that its diesel cars on sale in Europe and the U.S. would be fitted with an emissions-scrubbing urea tank instead of a lean nitrogen-oxide trap and the automaker would develop further its all-electric vehicles, starting with the Phaeton.

October 14

Report: Volkswagen Scandal Involved At Least 30 Managers, Not ‘Small Group’

At least 30 Volkswagen insiders and managers had knowledge of the illegal “defeat device” and there may be more.

New Volkswagen NA Boss Quits Before Taking Position

Chairman of Škoda Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, who was tapped to lead a new North American Volkswagen region, will be leaving the Volkswagen Group.

October 15

Total Recall: Volkswagen Group Will Fix 8.5M Vehicles in EU

Volkswagen Group will recall 8.5 million vehicles in the European Union’s 28 member states, including the 2.4 million vehicles it is already being forced to recall by the KBA, Germany’s transportation authority, the automaker announced.

FTC Looking into Volkswagen’s ‘Clean Diesel’ Claims Now

The Federal Trade Commission will join the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency in investigating claims that Volkswagen cheated consumers and regulators with bogus emissions claims of its diesel cars.

Germany Orders Volkswagen to Fix Dirty Diesels Faster

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.

October 16

Daimler Trades Legal Chief To Volkswagen For Player to be Named Later

Volkswagen announced that Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt would join the embattled automaker from a similar post at Daimler after receiving approval from that automaker’s board of directors.

October 18

Columnist: ‘Normalization of Deviance’ Led to Volkswagen Cheating

“Normalization of deviance” could have led Volkswagen engineers to systemically cheat on emissions in the same way engineers rationalized colder and colder launches for the space shuttle until it finally disintegrated in 1986 because of failed, cold o-rings.

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2 of 43 comments
  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Oct 18, 2015

    This must be like Watergate for auto journos "All the Piëch's Men" coming soon to a theatre near you.

  • Motormouth Motormouth on Oct 19, 2015

    I've got two points. First, while it's clear that the defeat mechanism was active in US tests, I don't believe that VW has said anything about whether it was active in other global regions. The mechanism itself was transported around the world as a default part of the total software package and correlation does not equal causation. If they do confess to having it active in every country, that's when the pooh will really hit the fan. The second thought is that the engine involved is old, both in terms of operation and software. As far as I understand (and I've read a lot about this) it can't support SCR as it doesn't have the related software or hardware. Essentially, it seems as though VW was pawning off old technology in lieu of a new engine to save related R&D costs and keep investor confidence high. That's pretty much up in smoke (aha, see what I did there?) and the only realistic route to a solution would be to buy back the cars. Adios, VW of America, sacrificial lamb for VAG.

  • Azfelix This inspires so much confidence in the knowledge that government employees also have oversight over the proposed emergency braking rules. Ancient Athenians utilized the process of banishment. Perhaps we should consider implementing it for every government agency at every level.
  • MrIcky Its going to sell really well for a little bit, then everyone who wanted one will have one and it will sell almost nothing ever again-primarily well to do flower shop delivery vehicles after that first wave.
  • MaintenanceCosts It will have an initial period of, well, buzz because of the Type 2 nostalgia.Whether it has legs beyond that period will depend on whether VW can get competitive on two things: (1) electric powertrain efficiency, where their products have been laggards so far (hurting range badly), and (2) software. The packaging looks good and will help, but they need to get those other things right too.
  • Oberkanone Priced too high though not by much.
  • FreedMike Looks VERY niche to me. But that's not necessarily a bad thing - this might serve nicely as a kind of halo model for VW.