Volkswagen and the ‘diesel dupe’
Volkswagen have been dominating the news for a few days now and for all the wrong reasons. In what is being called the ‘diesel dupe’, Volkswagen face losing the trust of millions of customers worldwide. Here’s our guide to what’s happened and whether it will affect you …
What have Volkswagen done wrong?
Volkswagen have admitted to cheating emissions tests in the US. The purpose of this was to make their vehicles appear to be releasing a lower amount of emissions than they actually are. The true figures reveal Volkswagens tested were emitting nitrogen oxide pollutants up to 40 times above the legal limit in the US.
Volkswagen have used computer software to fool emissions test. The exact details of how this works have not been released. It is thought the computer software monitors the speed, engine operation, air pressure and position of the steering wheel. Using this information the software can decide whether the vehicle is under normal road conditions or under test conditions. If it is detected to be under test conditions, the engine is switched to a different mode. In test mode the engine is not working at its full level of power and so emissions are reduced.
Which cars are affected?
Here in the UK 1.2 millions cars sold have the manipulative software fitted and It's not only Volkswagens that are affected. Here are the numbers for the cars affected in the UK;
- 508,276 Volkswagens
- 393,450 Audis
- 76,773 Seats
- 131,569 Skodas
- 79,838 Volkswagen commercial vehicles.
So far there are 482,000 vehicles identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as affected which have been recalled in the US. Volkswagen have admitted there could be 11 million vehicles affected worldwide.
I own a Volkswagen - what should I do?
At the moment owners of a vehicle they think may be affected do not need to do anything themselves. Volkswagen will be releasing vehicle identification numbers to retailers, so all affected cars can be recalled, owners will be contacted over the coming weeks. The cost of refitting the emissions software will be met by Volkswagen.
There was a fear that owners of affected models may suddenly find themselves liable to pay more tax. The cost of road tax is an important consideration when buying a new vehicle, many buyers choose a vehicle in lower road tax bands to keep their motoring costs low. The UK Government have confirmed that any diesel vehicle involved in the scandal will NOT have to pay higher taxes.
Volkswagen are planning to set up a way for owners to check themselves if their vehicle is affected, but this is not available yet.
The most important thing to remember if you are worried your vehicle may be affected is that your vehicle is safe to drive and roadworthy.
It remains to be seen in the future whether the scandal will affect the resale value of vehicles and whether owners of affected vehicles will be entitled to claim any compensation.
What will happen to Volkswagen?
Volkswagen are hanging their heads in shame … they have apologised and apologised and have admitted they ‘totally screwed up’. Volkswagen have put aside £4.7 billion to cover costs. This may only be a small amount when considering the Environmental Protection Agency could fine Volkswagen up to $37,500 for each vehicle breaching their standards, which could take the fine up to $18 billion.
As well as fines from the Environmental Protection Agency and the cost of recalling and fixing vehicles, Volkswagen could also be facing criminal prosecution from the US Justice Department, consumers and shareholders. Shares also dropped by 30% in the first few days after the news broke.
The full extent of the consequences for Volkswagens cheating could take months to unfold as Italy, France and South Korea are a few of the other countries who are now opening investigations
So will this fresh disaster in the history of diesel mark the end? First of all we were all actively encouraged to use a diesel vehicle as they were thought to be kinder to the environment than a petrol vehicle. Now it has been realised this is not true and there are suggestions that the use of diesel cars may be limited in some cities to tackle emissions. Perhaps the death of the diesel is on the way.
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