This certainly isn’t shocking news coming from the automaker that they will focus less of it’s energy in the diesel market moving forward. With the diesel scandal that sent shockwaves through the automotive industry, Volkswagen has been on the mend with their company brand since the fallout.
Since last September, Volkswagen has faced a stop sale on all 2.0L diesel vehicles, and have had issues with their 3.0L diesel engines as well. What the company has started to do is beef up their branding and marketing around electric vehicles. Similar to how they brought up the image of clean diesel with a racing series, the company is looking at supporting an EV racing series to bring electric vehicles to the forefront. For now, VW will still sell diesel cars from 2017 through 2019 as long as regulators give them the OK to start sale again. The reality is that diesels as an industry is so tainted that it might not ever recover.
Since last September when Volkswagen’s emission scandal made headlines there has always been a wonder on who at the company knew about the planning and execution of the emission cheating software. Not long after the investigations began, it was said that a PowerPoint presentation was discovered at Volkswagen which detailed the cheating software which could be used at the company. Then it was claimed that only a small group of engineers knew about the cheating software. Well, a recent lawsuit filed by New York and Massachusetts attorneys general accuse ex CEO Winterkorn and current VW CEO Matthias Müller of being aware about the devices.
According to a report by The New York Times, the suit draws on internal documents that claim Müller knew about the decision to not equip Audi vehicles with the proper equipment needed to meet US standards in 2006. The suit claims that the automaker, with Müller’s go ahead, knowingly chose to install the devices onto its vehicles and is the first document that connects the executive to the ongoing scandal.
Further allegation in the lawsuit points to a number of leaders and executives at Volkswagen which could have had their hands in the emission scandal. This includes Wolfgang Hatz, former head of engine and transmission development at VW, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, former head of development for VW, and Ulrich Hackenberg, former head of development for Audi. Both Winterkorn and Müller have denied any malpractice.
Customers have been waiting patiently for the official fix notice to come from Volkswagen. The automaker is still in the works with regulators on the details of the repairs needed on their 2.0L TDI diesel motors to bring them into compliance. However, recent news on the projected repair plans is stating that even when the cars are repaired by Volkswagen they will still not comply with clean air laws.
The planned fix apparently will only reduce the over pollution by the 2.0L diesel by approximately 80 to 90 percent which gets the vehicles near CARB requirements, but that’s still not officially considered compliant. What’s more is that the regulator seems to be OK with it. According to Daniel Becker, Director of the Safe Climate Campaign, “For reasons they didn’t state, they’re allowing fixed vehicles to not be fixed, but to allow vehicles to emit twice as much pollution as they otherwise would allow.”
With details surrounding Volkswagen’s $10 billion settlement which recently surfaced, it’s gotten the attention of customers who have been affecting waiting eagerly to determine what kind of compensation they will be receiving. Myself included, it’s less so about the compensation, and more so about having a clear picture of what options we will have infront of us to make a decision on our diesel vehicle.
In the current state, customers are left hanging time and time again as Volkswagen and regulators continue to battle out a solution. The most recent report is stating that Volkswagen will be paying out anywhere between $1,000 and $7,000 to diesel owners, depending on things like year, mileage and condition of the vehicle. This will be in addition to providing a fix or buy back option on the affected vehicle.
All of these details are still speculation until an official release of the deal comes out between regulators and Volkswagen. At that point, Canadian customers will wait to see what path Volkswagen Canada will go down for their customers.
German authorities have given the green light for Volkswagen to implement a fix to bring 800,000 vehicles which use their 2.0L TDI motor into compliance with German emission regulations. These vehicles currently all have a cheat software installed into the car’s onboard computer which allows them to trick testing facilities into believing the vehicle is producing emission levels that are in compliance with standards. Once the vehicle gets back on the road, the computer switches over to it’s regular mode which surpasses emission standards.
The new software update apparently does not affect the performance of the vehicle once it is installed. Volkswagen and US regulators continue to work out the details of their fix in North America. Last month, Volkswagen agreed that firm details of their fix will be made public in late June. Currently, the Volkswagen group continues their class action legal battles, and have put away $18 billion to deal with the repairs and other issues stemming from the scandal.
The ripple effect of Volkswagen’s emission scandal can be felt throughout the entire automotive industry. The latest automaker to be in the spotlight is Nissan who is being accused for cheating on emission tests with their diesel engines, specifically the one in their Qashqai compact crossover.
The Environment Ministry of South Korea found discrepancies in testing and real world emission data in the Qashqai after submitting over 20 different automobiles through rigorous testing. So far Nissan has denied any wrongdoing on their part and states that their Qashqai conforms to all emission regulations under Korean law.
A stop sale has been issued to Nissan in South Korea on the Qashqai and the company has been issued a $280,000 fine for the cheating. South Korean officials are also looking to charge South Korea Nissan CEO with violating the emission regulations.
A PowerPoint presentation that documents in detail how Volkswagen could cheat emission testing was discovered through an ongoing investigation into Volkswagen’s diesel scandal. This is definitely a face palm moment for the German automaker.
The presentation is said to contain detailed description which shows the programming which can be coded into the computer of the vehicle which would predict emission testing conditions and pull back on pollution controls under those circumstances. Once the car knows it’s back on the road, it turns off the pollution controls and goes back to the performance that owners are used to, unknowingly producing much higher pollution.
Apparently, the presentation was created by a very high level executive in the IT department at Volkswagen. That individual’s name will not be disclosed due to the privacy laws of Germany.
Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Muller said, “Were it not for the sizable provisions we made for all repercussions of the emissions issue that are now quantifiable, we would be reporting on yet another successful year overall.” Well that’s not much of a strong statement coming from a company caught up in a scandal. Well I’d have to agree, if Volkswagen didn’t cheat on emissions, they probably would be better off. But they did, and they are now reporting a loss of $1.5 billion for the 2015 fiscal year versus a $12.4 billion net profit from the year before.
Much of the loss is a result of a large amount of money to the tune of $18.2 billion has been allocated to cover anticipated repair costs, fines, and legal expenses. Analysts were initially predicting that the total loss for the 2015 year would have exceeded $18.2 billion.
Emission scandals are now reaching Japan with Mitsubishi’s research facility in Nagoya, Japan, being targeted by Japan’s Transport Ministry in a raid to try and seize documents and information from the automaker.
Mitsubishi admitted to officials that they purposefully manipulated the emission and fuel economy data on over 625,000 vehicles sold in Japan. The vehicles with false fuel economy data have a stop order on production. These scandals continue to rack up major financial troubles for those involved. In Mitsubishi’s case, in two days their stocks dropped by 33% which is equivalent to $2.5 billion.
It looks like the French are getting themselves into some hot water as well with authorities. French authorities raided the head offices of Peugeot Citroën in Paris this week as they investigate the company’s involvement with cheating emissions.
There’s not a lot of information about emission issue as of yet, but Peugeot is saying that their vehicles have all the proper emission systems in place and are fully compliant. In fact, their BlueHDi technology is fully functional and effective in bring all their vehicles into emission compliance.