Indictment: Volkswagen Updated Emissions Cheat in 2014, Hid It From EPA and CARB
On September 9th, Volkswagen engineer James Liang pleaded guilty after being indicted on a variety of crimes related to VW’s deliberate use of a software routine that cheated on government diesel emissions testing.
Until his guilty plea was entered in United States District Court in Detroit, Liang’s indictment was under seal. Now that it has been made public ( full PDF version here), we know more details about VW’s cheat and it turns out that the German automaker even updated the original software cheat — apparently to work more effectively — with a patch delivered in the guise of fixing emissions related warranty claims.
As the scandal was breaking, Volkswagen also deliberately supplied government agencies with false data to make the problem appear to be the result of a mechanical malfunction, not a defeat device.
Volkswagen's 800,000 Sales Goal in US by 2018 is Definitely Toast
It was a lofty goal, a possibility at one point made believable by a sudden onslaught of seemingly indisputable evidence.
Volkswagen Of America determined that in 2018 the brand would generate 800,000 U.S. sales.
Indeed, between the industry’s doldrums in 2009 and 2012 the Volkswagen brand recorded a 104-percent improvement as U.S. auto sales rose by a far more modest 39 percent.
The task then seemed simple enough. After proving they could double their volume over the span of just three years, Volkswagen needed another doubling over the span that was twice as long. Which, it turns out, wasn’t to be so easy.
Did Other OEMs Know Volkswagen Was Cheating?
While working on a story about some very old cars, I stumbled upon something relevant to the latest big story in the automotive world.
I ran into a Model T collector who’s also a powertrain engineer for Ford. Seizing the opportunity, I asked him if he could tell me what he was working on (sometimes they say no). He said that he was responsible for developing computerized engine controls. Because of that expertise, I started to ask him some questions about the software program that Volkswagen apparently used to cheat on the EPA’s diesel emissions testing.
What he was willing to say and what he wouldn’t say intrigued me.
CrapWagen Outtake: 1989 VW T3 DoKa Diesel
What remarkable times these are. A week ago, a Volkswagen diesel was a sensible choice for a reliable, fuel efficient family vehicle. Now, those same cars make their owners pariahs in the green car community.
The devils’ advocate in me tells me to embrace the newfound hatred for VW — and diesels in general. After all, I live in an area without emissions regulations. Sadly, there are plenty of brodozers around here, rolling coal between suburban roundabouts. Let’s combine the two. Here’s a Braudozer!