EU Threatenes to Sue Countries That Went Easy on VW; Porsche Hit With Fuel Economy Probe

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
eu threatenes to sue countries that went easy on vw porsche hit with fuel economy

European Union officials are threatening to sue four countries, including Germany and Britain, for permitting Volkswagen AG to sell vehicles that were designed to cheat on emissions tests. The union has faced growing criticism for taking a more laissez-faire approach to handling the issue while the United States forced the company to settle $15 billion in legal claims.

Meanwhile, German regulators are looking into whether Porsche intentionally manipulated fuel economy data on its vehicles — creating a potential subplot in Volkswagen’s never-ending emissions-cheating scandal.

Europe may have weaker emission benchmarks than the United States, but the rules forbidding carmakers from installing software intended to deceive regulators and falsify results are similar. However, there is no Environmental Protection Agency equivalent in the E.U. and, therefore, no one to police those regulations. Instead, the issue is entirely left up to the individual countries.

The New York Times reports that the European Commission has managed to band together to accuse four countries of failing to effectively punish Volkswagen Group for installing software that mislead testers and allowed the vehicles to produce unacceptable levels of pollution under practical use. “Abiding by the law is first and foremost the duty of car manufacturers, Elzbieta Bienkowska, the European commissioner for industry, said “But national authorities across the E.U. must ensure that car manufacturers actually comply with the law.”

The Commission has given the four countries — Britain, Germany, Luxembourg, and Spain — two months in which to respond. With automakers seeking out countries with less stringent quality control for union-wide certification, the Commission has faced growing complaints to fix a broken system and exercise its power.

When the European Commission previously asked countries how they enforce emissions rules, 11 of the 28, including Britain, France and Poland, didn’t even bother to reply.

“After months of delays, and years of deception of consumers, this action is overdue,” Bas Eickhout, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement also proves that the commission does indeed have the ability to take action against member states, something they have repeatedly denied in the past.”

Meanwhile, Germany’s Transport Ministry and Federal Motor Transport Authority are investigating whether Porsche knowingly installed the defeat devices that allowed its cars to sense when they were being tested for fuel economy and greenhouse emissions. German magazine WirtschaftsWoche reports that an unidentified people close to Porsche tipped off the Transportation Ministry to the alleged cheating.

A Porsche spokesman has stated that the company’s cars complied with the fuel consumption and emissions laws in place at the time of the vehicles’ registration.

The report specifies that the investigation focuses primarily on the same so-called “wheel identifier” German authorities began looking into last month with Audi. The equipped cars can detect whether they’re on a test bed due to the lack of steering input during operation.

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3 of 11 comments
  • Motormouth Motormouth on Dec 09, 2016

    VW claims the defeat device didn't break European law. If that's accurate (and the denial puts the onus on the EU to prove it did break the law), going after the individual countries and their slack emissions testing is really the only option left for the EU - probably with the end goal that the individual states pass some level of financial hardship on to VW. That said, punishing the individual member states for this type of transgression makes zero sense remembering that, as noted, VW claim not to have done anything wrong.

  • Kosmo Kosmo on Dec 09, 2016

    The tale grows ever more ridiculous. The ONLY entities that should receive damages from VW are owners of the vehicles. This is just another example of another governmental organization that sees the possibility of free money.

  • Ajla I think a few of you guys need to try meditation or something.
  • SCE to AUX Historically, the Land Cruiser sold ~3000 units annually in the US for its last 15 years, so the answer is no.
  • Theflyersfan Oh boy - the sequential manual transmission. Otherwise known as "Your 16 year old driving stick the first time is smoother" transmission. I know automakers were trying new things out around this time and seeing what would stick (hint: the dual clutches won out), but even in testing, the Toyota engineers should have said いいえ、ジャンクです。(No. It's a piece of junk.) Is this seller going to get $8500? Doubt it. Way too much interior work is needed and it just looks worn out in there. St. Petersburg - salt air year round can do some wonders under the cover as well. But the exterior still looks good which makes me thing it was garage kept. So, for $8,500 - no chance. But for maybe $5,500 to $6,000 and the buyer doesn't mind some extra work to clean up the interior, maybe a decent top down sun down fun car. Just hope the transmission holds up.
  • Dukeisduke Only if there's a significant price difference between it and the Lexus GX. Otherwise, no. If they do bring it over, they'll have to ditch that ugly grille.
  • Theflyersfan Chris here just gave me a big old dose of nightmare fuel with this. Let me explain... This past Saturday, driving home after doing some furniture shopping. I-64 Westbound is closed for extensive repairs in my part of Louisville so I had to take surface streets home. No problem as it's basically a straight shot from said furniture store to my domicile. Now, I had that recent spinal fusion surgery in my neck complete with four screws, some plates, artificial bone, and the chance that things might not have healed correctly so things are a bit tender and sore still. Driving home in a part of the area named St. Matthews when I pass a Walgreens. Barreling out of this Walgreens and totally ignoring the stop sign, and situational awareness of ANYTHING around him is a truck, very similar to the one shown above. Same color even. It's a four lane road - main drag through town. I'm in the inside lane and this 7,000 pound monstrosity is suddenly feet from turning an MX-5 into shrapnel. Top is down, had my wits, quickly downshift and manage to do a wild u-turn like move into the oncoming traffic lanes but avoided the hit. The neck, however, didn't like the strain and trauma and sent parts of my body into fits of limited sensations and pain. The truck driver, realizing what he's done suddenly stops. My top is down, windows are down, and we make eye contact as I pull alongside the person I have suddenly wished death on inside a flaming pit. And if I repeat the sentences of what was yelled at that jack***es face, I'll be on insta-ban here in milliseconds. He yells over, "Man, I'm sorry...I didn't see ya!" Well, ***face, learn what a stop sign means and scan the scene first. And get something that you can see over and in front instead of the blind spots that hide everyone under the age of 14 in front of the truck. So, I'm all for forcing these overdone, oversized, overfed, overstyled, guzzling, tiny-genital compensating redneck wannabe road monsters taken out back and put to rest and we return to normalcy. Made it home hurting like hell and tests were done today to check for further injury. And that Mazda can turn and spin on a dime... Try that move in that Sierra AT4XBZQZW8! whatever.