Customers, dealers left in the dark on VW scandal

The crisis at VW has turned the spotlight on concerns that have gathered momentum in recent years – particularly in Europe where diesel is the more common auto fuel – about air pollutants it produces and its credibility as a cleaner alternative to gasoline that cloud prospects for diesel carmakers.


Volkswagen rigged their emissions tests using a device familiar to vehicle engineer and University of Manitoba associate professor Ed Hohenberg.

If you’re looking for environmental heroes – and who isn’t – take a look at mine: Peter Mock, Europe managing director of the obscure but well-informed worldwide Council on Clean Transportation, and John German, a senior fellow at the council.

When you think about it, the phrase “clean diesel” is an oxymoron.

“A software fix in the USA seems very unlikely because the emissions are so much higher than is allowed”, Paolo Martino, a Frost & Sullivan consultant, said. But because it was in a hurry to establish a beachhead in a market where diesel cars have traditionally been overlooked by consumers, VW went for quick and dirty fix.

Hohenberg said it’s “certainly possible” Volkswagen is not the only diesel carmaker guilty of rigging engines to pass the stricter tests.

Owners should expect to see a letter in the mail when the fix is available at their local VW dealer. According to a technical but devastating notice of violation and timeline released by EPA last week, VW officials obfuscated for months and only recently, confronted by the regulators with smoking-gun evidence, admitted the whole scheme. Any decline in sales of diesel cars could also have a big impact on producers of catalytic converter emissions control devices as they are heavily dependent on production for diesel cars. These devices are actually software programs that detect when the car’s emissions are being tested and adjust the emission control systems to burn fuel more cleanly.

Young noted how Toyota Motor Corp. had recalled millions of vehicles from 2009 due to some customers’ complaints that their cars were unintentionally accelerating.

Rand’s anger at the world’s top-selling vehicle company was echoed Wednesday by private dealers, auto wholesalers and owners across the fallout from the smog test trickery mounted.

NYT NEWS SERVICE Volkswagen AG chief ex ecutive officer Martin Winterkorn stepped down as the automaker became increasingly isolated amid a scandal over cheating on United States emissions tests.

On Monday, the head of VW’s U.S. division, Michael Horn, said, “Let’s be clear about this. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part”.

“We can’t afford to buy all those cars back”. “We must fix those cars, and prevent this from ever happening again, and we have to make things right – with the government, the public, our customers, our employees, and also very importantly our dealers”.

German has a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Michigan and, his bio says, “got over half way through an MBA before he came to his senses”.

“Customers are unsettled. It won’t just pass us by without problems”. “Most drivers care more about fuel consumption than emissions”.

On the inside, cabin upgrades are highlighted by an updated center stack that includes MIB II-the second generation of Volkswagen’s “modular infotainment” platform (a swipeable, pinch-zoom touchscreen that’s now included as standard equipment)-along with a new instrument panel, redesigned steering wheel and column stalk, two-tone decor panels and chrome and piano black trim.


Any CEO of any automaker who doesn’t take these fairly humble comments seriously, triple-check his company’s emissions-testing software, recode it if warranted and tell the EPA and Justice before they come calling – is living on Pluto. “As this story matures, we expect it to have more of an impact on sales”, said one dealer, choosing to remain anonymous.

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI