The VW Diesel cover up

Sooo VW have covered up their diesel engine emissions ? Did they just have really poorly designed engines that threw out lots of nasties ? What about the other manufacturers - either they have much better engines or they've been fibbing too ? Was it an open secret in the industry ? Surely GM and Ford etc would have been checking out the rivals and wondering what the secret was - unless they were using it too ? People change in the industry all of the time so surely some VW people have moved on and shared their knowledge ? Will this kill diesel cars ?


  • I think it will. The U.K. Was already looking at outlawing diesel cars so this will be hammer that they need to put the nails n the coffin. I've got a diesel right now but I'm going to look at a change to a small petroleum engined car. In reality, unless you are dong huge mirage their isn't l any benefit other than you can run it on vegetable oil if you are really stuck.

    If VW are doing it then everybody is. There is no way that VW is not able to keep up with the other brands, they are probably better in terms of emissions but even so they are stop obviously much worse than they pretend to be.

    This might even finish VW group. The U.S will go after them hard. Not long ago they went after Kia for their claims on fuel economy. I think the figures used were what the uk tests arrived at.
  • It really isn't just VW, for example, the BMW X3 (horrible SUV thing) is about 8x the EU legal limit when tested properly.

    The testing system in Europe stinks (literally). The testers are financially dependent on the manufacturers, who fund the testing. The testing is done on "golden" vehicles which are specially adapted to frig the test, and bear little resemblance to the production models.

    The way that VW was cheating in the US was novel- they have a standardised test cycle, and the engine management system has a "dyno" profile, and a "road" profile". When the vehicle sees the standardised cycle begin, it switches to "dyno" cycle, fully engaging the emissions management of the car. In "road" profile, it's all but disabled.

    The irony is that the cheating in the US was discovered by a tester gathering some data, who wanted to use one of VW's famous "clean diesels" to show what's possible. The difference is that he didn't dyno test, but had a boot full of portable testing gear, and was driving in a much more natural manner.. and was rather horrified with what he discovered.

    Yes, other manufacturers are flouting diesel emissions regs. It's much more of an issue in Europe, diesels are only about 3% of cars in the US right now, as I recall (that's from memory, don't trust a word of it). However, they're a significant  proportion of the cars on the road here.

    For years, various campaigning groups have wondered why there was such a disparity between predicted pollution levels modelled on traffic levels and the reality. Governments in Europe have known how rotten the testing was. Heck, the German government also knew about the dodgy VW software before the story broke, occasionally. It's like a tinfoil hatter's wet dream.

    The pollution levels in UK cities have been above EU safe limits for some years now, and the UK government has asked for more time to fix it, promising that they will get right on it really soon now, honest. While a lot of the blame probably lies with terrible urban and transport planning, where we failed to recover from the worst excesses of the Thatcher era, and learn from our Nordic neighbours, a proportion of the probably is almost certainly down to manufacturers cheating emissions regs with governments looking the other way.

    While this must change, enforcement action in the private sector has also been wilfully overlooked. There are plenty of companies advertising openly that they will, for a fee, blank off the Exhaust Gas Recirculation system, or remove the diesel particulate filters from vehicles. Moreover, since MOT procedure precludes dismantling of the exhaust system, things like EGR blanking go undetected, despite theoretically being grounds for a failure. Why companies who offer these services aren't fined until they glow is probably an answer for snivelling politicians too craven to stand up to the Clarkson brigade.

    The whole thing is fscked, and it's fscking us. It's harming our health, it's harming our kids' health. It's also directly fscking we runners, very specifically (as well as cyclists), so we should be more pissy about it than most. However, everyone's acting like the VW thing is a big shock, which if it wasn't so facepalm-inducing, would be hilarious.

    (Oh, and the first one to make a tasteless joke about Germans gassing people en masse again probably gets to go and stand in the corner for a bit image)

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭
    I'd say this is bigger than banking's LIBOR rigging scandal. There you have rogue traders colluding to manipulate a benchmark on odd days where they happen to have a large trade versus another bank or hedge fund determining its cash flows. It's hard to prove that the top brass of the bank pushed a systematic bent policy and it wasn't just pods of greedy traders at play. More importantly it's hard to say the man in the street borrowing relatively small sums systematically paid too much mortgage interest and lost his house as a result.

    Compare this with emission test rigging- you can't put bent testing software into mass produced cars without some very high level sanction. And this directly civers up something health threatening like particulate pollution. There is a clear link to the public's wellbeing and life expectancy.

    Very bent indeed and I have trouble believing VW were the only ones cutting corners. Imagine the worst elements of doper athletes cheating, and bankers getting greedy. Throw in a total disregard for people's lives and you are getting close to just how rotten this is.

    And if that's not enough- they lied to you about pollution and fuel economy, to comply with EU regs that get tougher each year. What else did they lie to you about? Europe has ever more stringent safety regs to comply with too....
  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭
    I start to think the move towRds hybrids will accelerate.
  • Your basic driver doesn't care about emissions, let's be honest, and the testing regime has always been flawed, the emission test of a standard saloon measures as it accelerates from 0-31mph in 23 seconds, anyone admit to driving like that?

  • Some people do - and they pay a premium for low emission cars ?

    That 0-30 does sound extreeeemely sluggish - I cant say I've ever set a stopwatch on it before - but I'm sure its usually faster than that.
  • The similarity with the LIBOR scandal is that it was probably driven (sorry) by someone's bonus.

    "We want to tap an untapped market.  No-one sells diesel cars in the US - we can get in first and be the market leader.  All we have to do is meet the emission standards.  If you manage to do it and sell x units in the first 12 months, you get a big bonus".

    So head of US sales goes to the technical team and tells them to pass the emissions tests at all costs.  Of course, it would look ridiculous if the cars for the US market had hugely different emissions from those sold in the EU, so they have to "sort" them all.  Mr Technical Director is also incentivised to make it happen, so it's in his interests to do so. 

    It's easy to see how and why it happens.  Personal and corporate greed.  Possibly Mr Technical Director thought that in a couple of years they would come up with the technology to make them pass for real, so he'd get away with it.


  • But how many people make the decision on which car based on emissions ? Most people know that the mpg testing is done in a lab and therefore unrealistic But I didn't look at the emissions when I bought my German diesel
  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭
    If you ask the average 4x4 driver how much emission data affected his car buying the answer is likely 'not much.'

    However if tax, parking permit etc pricing decisions are skewed to make polluting cars pricier you get the outcome you want- up to a point. Islington council have said they would charge more for parking permits for diesel cars. All very laudable until you find out they don't apply it to commercial vehicles or public transport.
  • I bet a lot of people will be in on any claim to VW etc for potential losses on resale value....

    Basically if diesels are so polluting - why are we allowing them on the road ?
  • cougie,

    The UK is so polluted in the major cities that it has been breaking EU safety laws for years. People don't really give a damn, on the whole.

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    As I understand things, the software was originally set up as a safety mode for mechanics who had cause to occasionally run the engines while inside garages.

    Then came along someone out to make a name for themselves and suggested the 'device' could prove handy in another sense. ie to beat emission restrictions.

    Someone (significant within VW) said ok to that idea, and someone in VW had that idea.

    They may as well kill themselves now. The moment anyone chances their arm in a legal sense with good ole ' Hank  - the world litigious champion -Yank', you're looking at financial destruction at minimum and life in prison without parole (bar death row) at best.

    That's the way they like it. Winners and losers. If you lose, you're going to know all about it.





  • The will care when the gov gets beaten by Europe into testing in real life conditions on random cars and then using that data to set pollution and road fund taxation levels for cars. As it stands I pay 140 quid a year ( I think) if they put t me in the proper band it cold be 4 or 5 times more and earn me a ban from the low emission zone in London. Nice.
  • Cone of our diesels has a zero VED rating, just to confuse things it's in Sue's Volvo, but I think it's really a Ford unit

  • I think I'll start a new business:

    I'll ring everyone repeatedly, asking if they have (now or in the past) owned a VW.

    Saying we can help with their claim 


  • Orrrrr - pedestrians and cyclists who have been breathing in the VW diesel toxins - they should have even more of a claim !
  • a growing business plan already image

  • Yeah, the funny thing is occasionally people cost up the effect on the NHS of the illegal pollution levels in the UK, and it's not funny.

  • .. and not forgetting all those that are now driving round on potentially invalid MOTs

  • Many pay for having their catalytic converters, recirculators or particulate filters (depending on car type) disabled, anyway, so are deliberately driving around with car configurations which should fail the MOT.

  • I have a Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI. Not sure if it's affected by this - they don't sell Skodas in the US, but I imagine all the VAG engines are basically the same underneath.

    I'm not sure how bad this will be for VW, I expect there's a lot more information to come out. This is VW's share price, something like £20 billion (or $ or €, I forget) got wiped off.



  • Not basically the same, but the same, they come down the same production line in Hungary.

    its supposed to be the 1600's & 2L TDis so my 1900 Audi is OK ????

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Remember that VW advert?

    This is the man who put his money on red and it came up black.

    This is the man who married a sex kitten at the time she turned into a cat.

    This is the man who moved into the city when the smart money moved out.

    This is the man who bought a VW...


  • I have a "low emission" VAG diesel but I didn't buy it for the low emissions, the resulting £20pa duty was a major factor though.

    I don't think modern diesels are secretly dirty, I would hazard a guess that the difference between the true figure and the fiddled figure is probably very small.

    All that said, much as I hate to share an opinion with VD, I would think hard about a 1.4 petrol next time vs a 2.0 diesel.


  • Oh puffy. That got me all excitedimage
  • Wonder how long it'll take HMRC to start sending out bills to company car drivers for the tax difference...................

  • Mr Puffy wrote (see)

    I have a "low emission" VAG diesel but I didn't buy it for the low emissions, the resulting £20pa duty was a major factor though.

    I don't think modern diesels are secretly dirty, I would hazard a guess that the difference between the true figure and the fiddled figure is probably very small.


    We already know that some cars are over-emitting by 8x-10x, so I think you're being overly optimistic here.

    Hell, in the case of VW, they were breaking the US emmisions regs by up to 35 times,

  • Do we know that? I haven't seen any hard data, just headlines and opinion. 

  • Yes, we do.!OpenDocument

    "This results in cars that meet emissions standards in the laboratory or testing station, but during normal operation, emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx, at up to 40 times the standard. The software produced by Volkswagen is a “defeat device,” as defined by the Clean Air Act."

    Even the Daily Mail didn't have the front to try and deny this one.

    The funny thing is that the guy who originally discovered the problem was trying to show the exact opposite- that diesel could be clean- as VW "clean diesel" cars could even conform to the more stringent US standards. He was using portable testing apparatus in the car, doing on-road testing and was shocked by the results, as they poked a hole in his point quite badly. He retested with longer tests to try and rule out experimental error, but couldn't.

  • I think this scandal points to diesel having reached it's limit in terms of development for clean running. In fact, it had probably reached it sometime ago and the dpf, adblue etc were sticking plasters. Governments are as much to blame for having encouraged manufacturers to develop diesel by creating demand through taxation, not that this excuses VW for their actions. I will be amazed if other manufacturers don't become implicated in similar tactics soon.

    I've actually recently bought a new Golf but as I don't do many miles and can afford to be choosy, I bought a petrol. The economy so far is excellent for the type of car but certainly doesn't match up to the published figures. However I never expected to be able to replicate laboratory conditions in the real world.

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