Hey, Look - Volkswagen Finds Itself In the Midst of Another Diesel Recall

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
hey look volkswagen finds itself in the midst of another diesel recall

Volkswagen, most recently seen lecturing European governments on the need to ditch the diesel subsidies that, until recently, made it the continent’s most popular fuel, has a bad case of timing.

Just a day after Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller not-so-subtly touted his company’s newfound green bona fides, telling a German newspaper, “We should question the logic and purpose of diesel subsidies,” another diesel-related scandal broke. On Tuesday, Germany’s automobile regulator, KBA, issued a recall of VW’s top-end diesel SUVs.

The reason? Undeclared defeat devices, apparently designed to make the late-model 3.0-liter vehicles run cleaner while undergoing emissions testing. If this doesn’t sound familiar, you’ve been dead for the past two years.

The two offending devices are found on the latest version of the Touareg’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, which was thought to be compliant with Europe’s stringent Euro 6 emissions standards. In another odd twist of timing, VW had only just recently wrapped up its 3.0-liter diesel saga in the United States.

While no more Touareg TDIs will make their way to U.S. shores, there’s still old (and fixed) models available at discounted prices.

Now, VW faces a recall of over 57,000 3.0-liter Touareg models across the globe, with some 25,800 of them located in Germany. “Two inadmissable switch-off devices were found upon examination of the VW Touareg 3.0-litre diesel Euro 6 by the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority,” KBA wrote in a statement.

Interestingly, the regulator issued its recall on December 8th, some three days before Müller sat down with the media and complained about all this nasty diesel floating around Europe. The interview served as a way for the VW boss to call attention to the automaker’s ambitious electric vehicle plan and investments in green technology — and shove its unsavory diesel emissions scandal further into the past.

“The [diesel subsidy] money can be invested more sensibly to promote more environmentally friendly technologies,” Müller said.

Euro 6, the latest European Union emissions standard, was introduced on most new vehicle registrations on September 1st, 2015. You’ll recall what befell the company just two weeks later. While the automaker, for the most part, was able to avoid the steep financial penalties of its misdeeds in Europe, its U.S. shenanigans cost it some $25 billion. Adding past European recalls to the bill brings it to $30 billion.

KBA claims VW used an emissions-lowering “warming-up strategy” to avoid detection of higher-than-permitted emissions during testing. The system would turn on during static tests, then turn off — in most cases — when the vehicle was underway on the road.

The regulator also claims Touaregs outfitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems were programmed to restrict the use of AdBlue — an exhaust-scrubbing additive contained in a separate tank — under certain conditions. Because of these systems, Touaregs emitted higher-than-allowed levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx), the chief ingredient in smog.

VW unveiled its Euro 6-compliant 3.0-liter diesel engine in May 2014. KBA claims the automaker has already adjusted production of the vehicle and offered a software fix. In July, German authorities sparked a recall of 22,000 Porsche Cayenne models with the same offending engine.

Just last week, Volkswagen was forced to issue a stop-sale order for its T6 Multivan following the discovery of elevated NOx emissions. In this case, however, defeat devices are not suspected as the culprit.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.