By on November 3, 2015

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen on Monday said that internal testing revealed 800,000 Volkswagen cars may emit more carbon dioxide than reported and could cost the company $2.1 billion more in penalties.

New CEO Matthias Müller apologized for the deception.

“The Board of Management of Volkswagen AG deeply regrets this situation and wishes to underscore its determination to systematically continue along the present path of clarification and transparency,” he said in a statement.

According to the automaker, 800,000 cars could emit more CO2 than the company reported. Volkswagen said a “majority” of the affected cars were diesel models, but didn’t specify which ones, nor if they were models already affected by the growing diesel scandal.

According to the Financial Times, affected cars all have 1.4-liter engines, although some are gasoline-powered, the first time Volkswagen gasoline engines have been implicated in its emissions crisis. Volkswagen Polo and Golf models, as well as some Skoda, Seat and Audi models, were fitted with the 1.4-liter engine, although none were sold in the U.S. or Canada.

In August, Volkswagen announced it would equip a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine in its cars in the U.S. to replace the outgoing 2-liter engine. It’s unclear if that engine, coded EA 211, is related to the European engines that spew higher levels of carbon dioxide that Volkswagen didn’t specify. A related engine, based on an earlier generation four-cylinder, has been used in many VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda cars.

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42 Comments on “Volkswagen Says It Lied About CO2 Levels In 800,000 Cars...”


  • avatar
    brettc

    Well this is an interesting new revelation. Wonder how long it’ll be until they admit to lies about the gas engines in North America? Or will the EPA have to coax it out of them?

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    This could be VW ripping off that band aid.

    As we just had the 3 liter diesel revelations yesterday, this could be VW getting ahead of any EPA investigation and further bad news that may trickle out slowly and more painfully. Having all the bad news out in a condensed period of time at least minimizes their media attention, and at least affords them the luxury of steering the narrative of the revelation.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Really have to worry about what else they have lied about. If they said it was a fine day, would you look outside,to see if they are telling the truth

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Their reports of death and injury in VW products to NHTSA as required under the TREAD act were 1/10 of the industry average.

        Anywhere where VW is better and cleaner than the average is an area worth investigating.

        I would be looking for tax, clean air/water, crash safety compliance issues.

        Ps you were excellent in Bad Day at Black Rock.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      This could also be a play to make sure that in the impending bankruptcy the US regulators have to split the money with the EU.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    If this expands to gasoline engines in any significant number, and is widespread in the EU and/or NA – stick a fork in VW — they’re on the express elevator to Hell – GOING DOWN!

  • avatar
    Hummer

    First of all, it’s CO2, big woop, it’s not NOX, though I would like to know just how high the NOX emissions are on these turbocharged weed eater engines.
    And secondly, how the hell do you manage to build a gasoline engine that doesn’t pass emission tests yet have no advantages over competitors engines that can?

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Big Woop? One reason US Diesels fail Euro V let alone Euro VI. Particulates are a very big problem with US Diesels. Still VW, to avoid CO2 levels in Europe, not good at all for their Gas and Diesel engines

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Back to talking through your hat again, I see.

        DPFs are standard in North American diesels as well, so c’mon let’s have the evidence about high particulate emissions. A link to a decent article will do fine, or otherwise we’ll put this assertion in Robert ryan’s Basket Of Old wives’ Tales or Things I Heard In My Head, along with all the other innaccuracies.

      • 0 avatar

        Until my DPF cracked at 83,000 miles, the inside of my tail pipe was clean…cleaner than any gas car I’d ever owned. Soot in the tailpipe is a sign under the TSB of failure of the DPF.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Is there any difference between “lying about CO2 levels” and “lying about fuel economy”?

      [FT is paywalled, so I can’t read their lame article.]

      I mean, they’re really the same thing; a measure of fuel burnt.

      The carbon in that fuel isn’t going anywhere else, at least not appreciably.

      (Yeah, in diesels you get soot and all that, but that’s pretty marginal in terms of total amount, no?)

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        “Is there any difference between “lying about CO2 levels” and “lying about fuel economy”?

        I mean, they’re really the same thing; a measure of fuel burnt.”

        There is variance in chemical output. One can burn same amount of a given hydrocarbon assay hotter or cooler for instance, and get different chemical assay as a result; which leads to different products post-catalyst. A lot of it has to do with environmental nitrogen – which competes with carbon for same ‘slots’ chemically speaking in these situations.

        • 0 avatar
          chris724

          Doesn’t all the carbon in the fuel end up as CO2, though? I would hope modern engines aren’t making a significant amount of CO or unburned HC. So CO2 emission should be directly proportional to fuel consumption. Or are there other places the carbon could end up, which I haven’t thought of? These would have to be significant to make even a dent in the CO2 emissions. I’ve heard of Sulfur Oxides and NOX, but no Carbon in either of those.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The EPA fuel economy ratings are calculated by bagging the exhaust, measuring the carbon and converting it to MPG. CO2 emissions and fuel economy are basically the same thing, except that the CO2 measurement accounts for the difference in carbon content between diesel and gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yes CO2 emissions are proportional to the fuel used. Basically you put a bunch of HCs in the combustion chamber and if all goes well and it actually burns CO2 makes up by far the largest portion of the “C” in the exhaust. The next most common output of “C” are CO and HC. However the Catalytic Converter is there to turn that in to more CO2 and H2O. So yes saying they cheated on the CO2 per mile is admitting that they are misstating their fuel efficiency.

        Thanks to the detergents and other additives in the fuel and the air that goes in you may have some “C” come out of the engine in a form other than the big 3, however that is an insignificant portion of the exhaust and would not explain a major change in the amount of CO2 produced per volume of fuel burned.

        • 0 avatar
          CarnotCycle

          “So yes saying they cheated on the CO2 per mile is admitting that they are misstating their fuel efficiency.”

          I don’t think they’re directly equivocal in this situation, especially since nobody is sure how Volkswagen ‘cheated’ this time around.

          Also, in so much as diesel, there has to be a significant amount of non-CO2 carbon coming out of such a thing. Look at pipes on a tractor trailer pyro away when they step on it. Indeed, to be more efficient, to get better mileage, one would want to burn that fuel instead of pyrolize it – which would actually make CO2 per mile go up while ironically improving the mileage.

          Who knows how VW was playing the CO2 game and where? Might not have even been an instrumented test, but just paperwork cheating. Far as I can tell, nobody knows those details yet. The implication of petrol engines here is interesting though.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The EU allows the OEMs to do their own fuel economy testing. I would presume that VW misreported the results from their own facilities.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      If there turns out to be NOX emissions “issues” with the latest high compression tyrbo/DI engines, the problems just got a lot bigger than VW. The entire German/European auto industry is pretty much all in on that bet.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Stuki
        As well as the entire US Auto industry. They seem not to care about particulates from Gas engines, but the issue is going to come up and make them care

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Maybe VW should just buy engines from Mercedes or BMW.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Sooo shady! Girl, bye.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    In their German words- we screwed up, and now Lenny Kravtiz. That’s the most sincere apology the world was slapped with. I really wonder what else VW will dick their customers with.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “…may emit more carbon dioxide than reported…”

    Oh, the humanity!
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Currently, are there any 2015/16 VW diesels (any displacement) that can pass an emission test in the US or Europe?

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Why do I get the gut feeling that this issue is much, much larger than just VW?

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I wonder as well. I tend to the think that GM is safe with the LS and truck engine lines due mainly to the fact their are so many tuners out there. One of them would have found the cheat code and said
      Something by now.

  • avatar
    wmba

    All this “revelation” reveals is that VW is admitting it overstated fuel economy (which is all that excess CO2 implies)

    Since both Ford and Hyundai have been caught and fined for this kind of shenanigan in the US and Canada already, this revelation’s importance amounts to about the square root of doo-doo.

    • 0 avatar
      CarnotCycle

      “All this “revelation” reveals is that VW is admitting it overstated fuel economy (which is all that excess CO2 implies)”

      I believe one gets different ratios of oxides when burning these fuels at different temps etc., hence different levels of power output. I think VW is, more or less, admitting they’ve programmed their engines to trade eco-policy for more power while maintaining stated fuel economy.

      After all, what is easier thing to get away with? Nobody chemically asserts engine exhaust, including car reviewers (I don’t even think Consumer Reports checks) – its just appeals and verification to some designated authority.

      But many people notice mileage, and dozens of independent entities are out there testing reality to specs for such figures.

  • avatar
    TheDoctorIsOut

    I just checked on my VW Sportwagen TDI and was relieved to find the car is not shod with Firestone 500 tires.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Too much CO2? That’s a victimless crime. In fact, plants were thankful for the extra food. The fines that VW will have to pay will be tribute to the false gods of catastrophic AGW.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I can maybe disagree with the particulate levels or co2 standards…. I understand there are lab conditions and real world etc. But what this comes down to for me is a massive fraud. The standards are the standards, like them or not, until they’re changed everyone must meet them.

    And vw simply cheated and lied about it on an epic scale.

    I know there are no deaths but for whatever reason this seems way way worse than something like the GM ignition fiasco. I’m no gm fan, but as an engineer I can understand how pressures on cost can lead to something like that, and I can understand how it can take time to realize the significance of a problem and develop a solution, and also there will be roadblocks on the way.

    But this to me just feels like vw decided at all levels of the company to just say “F the requirements” and that was that. And for some reasons this feels far worse to me than any other safety related issue. Blatant, in your face, non accidental, deliberate fraud in every corner of the company. So large and so deep that I have to ask if they also rigged say crash test cars with equipment or bracing etc that they then didn’t put in the actual production models. Or what other parts like seat belt performance did they “test” and it “passed” because they rigged the test or just straight up lied about the numbers?

    This is not one bad apple or a department of bad apples. This smells more of a rotten, dishonest company from top to bottom. And therefore I can’t personally dismiss it as a fluke or an isolated incident.

    I was on fence if the particulate for diesels might bankrupt vw. I am now officially on vw death watch. If this is true, I suspect it is enough to put them under.

    Idiots.

  • avatar
    Dr.Nick

    So they basically cooked the CO2 books in order to look more competitive in Europe or anywhere they tax cars based on CO2 production.

    It will be very interesting to see how they’re trying to firewall this problem and claim that a core group of 10-29 people are responsible for this massive fraud with no one else the wiser. Ridiculous.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    I do not think VW should be shelling out massive government fines for this. Civil litigation – at least in USA – will thump VW in the pocketbook already, which ultimately will be picked up by VW shareholders – mostly little people, in other words.

    The ones who should be suffering are in VW executive suite and they will be the ones who get away. No junior firmware dev decided to ‘update’ critical ECU op routines on his own.

    This also brings up another potential in the future, which is user-based hacking of individual ECU’s to achieve same effect when getting emissions tested. I would guess there is fair amount of fraud going on that way already.

    And that also brings up another point, why would it be only car companies that should suffer a ‘crisis of confidence’ with the auto-public over this? What about EPA (at least in USA)? Whole air-quality-assert regime here seems suspect given scale of what went on under all these alleged MacGruff crime-dog noses and Ralph Nader wannabes. All the unreliable data on VW sticker was ‘certified’ by EPA. Apparently that’s just a form one files – EPA actually has no idea about any of these cars probably.

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