Toyota's Hino Motors Confesses to Diesel Emissions Cheating [UPDATED]
A few years ago, you couldn’t sneeze in an elevator without it landing on at least one automotive executive in trouble for diesel emissions cheating. Following Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal in 2015, regulators around the globe smelled blood in the water and the feeding frenzy began. Diesel cars that were previously championed as the cleaner alternative in Europe were now public enemy number one. Manufacturers responsible for long-lasting engines with high efficiencies were subjected to enhanced scrutiny. It was something of a sooty witch hunt and has gradually lost steam as the world found new, more immediate things to be outraged with.
But that doesn’t mean nobody has been checking up on them. Hino Motors, Toyota’s truck and bus arm, has confessed that it caught itself cheating after launching an internal investigation into its North American operations. Apparently, some products that should have been subject to Japan’s 2016 emission regulations were not — among some other issues.
Ghosts Of Dieselgate: VW Loses Important Case in Germany
Volkswagen’s emission-related malfeasance was promptly identified and dealt with in the United States. The company was accused of using suspect software to game testing scores on diesel-equipped models in 2015. By October of 2016, VW was on the hook for a $15.6 billion financial penalty, in addition to mandatory fixes or buybacks on affected vehicles.
Things progressed differently on the European front. Germany has subjected the manufacturer to numerous investigations, ultimately deciding to fine the firm $1.18 billion in 2018 and enact widespread recalls. Civil suits have largely focused on VW’s legal representatives denying the software had any ill intent, claiming it was simply code that mistakenly allowed the cars to become non-compliant with regulatory limits. This didn’t fly, however, with a gigantic UK lawsuit finding the automaker guilty of intentionally misleading customers in April.
This week, VW lost another important legal battle in Germany when the Bundesgerichtshof found it guilty of cheating on emissions testing years earlier. The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe decided disenfranchised diesel van owner Herbert Gilbert was entitled to a €28,000 payday, setting a precedent for thousands of other claimants seeking revenge.
Audi Still Under Threat of New Dieselgate Fines
Dieselgate never dies. Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt) has informed Audi that it will be subjected to additional fines if it fails to meet upcoming deadlines for retrofitting manipulated diesel models with updated software.
Reports from Bild am Sonntag, later confirmed by Reuters, claim the regulatory authority issued three letters to the automaker stipulating that it had until September 26th to replace the software in emissions-cheating V6 and V8 TDI engines (originally certified as EU6 compliant) lest it be fined 25,000 euros (about $27,500) per vehicle. While fines are only applicable to cars still carrying illicit software, the transport ministry estimated some 127,000 Audi vehicles qualified in Europe last year. There were originally around 850,000.
Germany Engineering Firm Pleads Guilty to Involvement in VW Emissions Scandal
IAV GmbH, the German engineering company co-owned by Volkswagen Group, plead guilty to a felony count of conspiracy in a U.S. District Court on Friday, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Last month, authorities said the firm had already agreed to a guilty plea and multi-million-dollar fine for its role in helping Volkswagen Group develop software that could effectively help cars falsify emissions test results.
That makes the courtroom officiation little more than a formality. While the court wants to conducts a probationary investigation, effectively delaying sentencing until May 22nd, there is little doubt what the final penalty will be — $35 million and two years of operation under the supervision of a court-appointed monitor.
Volkswagen's Dieselgate Still Going Strong in Europe
While Volkswagen’s diesel emission fiasco has died down in the United States, costing the automaker billions before going achieving dormancy, the legal fires burn brightly in Europe. On November 14th, a German court ruled that VW must reimburse the owner of a Golf the full price of the vehicle from when it was purchased in 2012. The decision sets a new precedent, possibly opening the firm to additional expenses via buybacks.
However, Volkswagen AG has claimed around 9,000 judgements have already been made relating to the diesel emissions scandal — most of which resulted in customer complaints being unsupported by district and higher courts. “In our opinion, there is no legal basis for customer complaints [in Europe]. Customers have suffered neither losses nor damages. The vehicles are safe and roadworthy,” VW said.
Cadillac's Hazy Diesel Engine Program Tentatively Bites the Dust
It’s looking increasingly like the compression ignition engine won’t get an opportunity to redeem itself at Cadillac. After making diesel a dirty word in the early 1980s with the help of Oldsmobile’s cantankerous, oil-burning 5.7-liter V8, GM’s luxury arm dived back into diesel development towards the end of the last decade. A recession and bankruptcy put the kibosh on those outsourced plans.
Then, in 2014, happier economic times brought about a renewed interest in the pursuit of diesel. Cadillac hoped to woo MPG-loving Europeans by outfitting new sedan models with diesel powerplants developed in-house. Americans would get a taste, too.
Scratch that, says Cadillac president Steve Carlisle.
Lawsuit Claims Ford 'Rigged' Its Diesel Truck Engines
Are you an automaker that’s currently producing, or has ever produced, a diesel engine? If so, the odds are pretty good you’ll eventually be sued over its existence. A new lawsuit by truck owners, filed on Wednesday, alleges Ford Motor Company installed emissions-cheating software in F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks — built between 2011 and 2017 — to ensure they passed federal testing.
At this point, all of the Detroit Three manufacturers have been accused of some form of diesel deceit. Which makes us wonder how warranted these lawsuits are. Volkswagen’s scandal started when an independent source tipped off U.S. regulatory agencies, but these truck cases frequently begin as class-action suits on somewhat specious grounds.
United States Approves Fix for 38,000 Volkswagen Group 3.0-liter Diesel SUVs
On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it had approved a fix for the remaining 38,000 Volkswagen Group vehicles equipped with emissions-cheating 3.0-liter diesel engines. That’s potentially very good news for Volkswagen, as it’s a decision that could save the company a truckload of cash.
In May, VW agreed to spend over $1.22 billion to repair or buy back nearly 80,000 vehicles with 3.0-liter engines as part of its “dieselgate” settlement. The manufacturer was also obliged to pay owners of fixed units between $8,500 and $17,000. However, there was an additional fine of $4.04 billion if the EPA and California Air Resources Board were unwilling to approve repairs on all 3.0-liter vehicles.
With a fix now in place for 38,000 Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg, and Audi Q7 SUVs, the company may have just saved itself a over a billion dollars.
General Motors Believes Diesel Lovers Haven't Stopped Loving Diesels
General Motors’ diesel-powered midsize pickup trucks are the only midsize pickup trucks available in America with diesel engines. GM’s Chevrolet Cruze is the only compact car on sale in America with a diesel engine. Although the Mazda CX-5 is scheduled to arrive later this year, diesel-powered editions of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain will be the first small utility vehicles with diesel options.
With all the negative diesel press earned largely by the eruption of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal in September 2015, is GM’s investment in America’s diesel market a complete and utter waste?
GM obviously thinks not. “I don’t think diesel customers forgot why they liked driving diesels in the last two years,” GM’s vice president for global propulsion systems, Dan Nicholson, tells Automobile. “They didn’t forget about the driving character or the fuel economy.”
Moreover, Nicholson says of the tens of thousands of former Volkswagen TDI owners, “We don’t think those customers went away.”
Daimler to 'Voluntarily' Recall 3 Million Vehicles in Europe Over Diesel Emissions
With Volkswagen’s emission crisis winding down (but seemingly never over), Daimler AG is taking center stage as the next automaker to potentially face serious hardship for dastardly diesel misdeeds. For the last few months, investigators from the United States and Germany have begun suspecting that Mercedes-Benz equipped its vehicles with defeat devices similar to those used by VW. While no evidence of fraud has surfaced, there’s reason to believe Daimler may have violated emission standards — especially now that it has decided to recall 3 million late-model diesels.
“The public debate about diesel engines is creating uncertainty,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have therefore decided on additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology.”
German Prosecutors Look Into Porsche, Bosch Over Diesel Emissions
While the United States concluded its investigation into Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal months ago, the wheels of justice turn appear to turn more slowly in Germany.
Prosecutors in Stuttgart have launched a preliminary investigation into employees at Porsche to assess whether they were involved in designing any of the company’s emissions-cheating software. Porsche is the latest addition in a governmental probe against Volkswagen Group. German prosecutors have already launched a formal investigation against the core brand and Audi.
Prosecutor Jan Holzner explained on Thursday, however, that the Porsche inquiry was not yet a formal investigation. The same could not be said of managers at Bosch, who Holzner believes may have had a role in aiding and abetting Volkwagen’s emissions fraud.
Colorado is Smoking Out Coal Rollers; Practice to Be Made Illegal
Rolling coal is one of the more contentious forms of automotive customization, primarily because it’s as much associated with vindictive cruelty as it is with having a good time.
In fact, there are probably more videos on YouTube of modified diesel truck owners blasting cyclists, protesters, activists, and EV drivers with sooty smoke than there are not. Over the last few years, rolling coal has become a way for many to showcase their anti-environmentalist and hard-right viewpoints. However, regardless of your politics, being on the receiving end of a diesel truck intentionally running ultra-rich is obnoxious and several states have attempted to ban the practice.
After three failed attempts, Colorado finally managed to pull it off. While earlier attempts fizzled, mainly due to concerns expressed by the Republican-controlled Senate over how regulations might affect the trucking and agriculture industries, a revised bill better addressed those concerns. Now, law enforcement will undergo training to help differentiate between a smoky work truck and those specifically designed to run rich for the purpose of rolling.
German Prosecutor Launches Daimler Diesel Fraud Investigation
In a developing story, the Stuttgart prosecutors’ office has launched an investigation into employees of Daimler, parent company and manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC engines. At issue is the (lately) very common Germanic malady of diesel infidelity.
FCA Slammed With Twin Lawsuits While Waiting on EPA Investigation
The Environmental Protection Agency alleged last week Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had installed undisclosed emissions software in 104,000 of its diesel vehicles — issuing the company a notice of violation for its Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500.
While the EPA continues its investigation into whether or not FCA will become the next Volkswagen, Canadian law firm Sotos LLP and America’s Heninger Garrison Davis LLC have coincidentally teamed-up to launch class action lawsuits on behalf of consumers.
VW CEO Apparently Had No Knowledge of Diesel Crisis
Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer, Matthias Müller, had no prior knowledge of his company’s diesel cheating emission software, reports German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Jones Day, the law firm investigating the diesel scandal, has concluded the replacement CEO found out about the scandal on September 18, 2015, one week before taking over at VW and the very same day that U.S. regulators revealed to the rest of the world that Volkswagen pulled a fast one on the Environmental Protection Agency.