Prosecutors are investigating Volkswagen for possible fraud related to its sale of nearly 11 million VW and Audi “clean diesel” vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions testing.
Update: Study Finds Emissions Coverup Could Cause 60 U.S. Deaths
November 1 – VW’s rigging of its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions testing could cause at least 60 American lives by the end of 2016, according to a study by scientists at Harvard and MIT. “We all have risk factors in our lives, and [excess emissions] is another small risk factor,” said Steven Barrett, co-author of the study. “If you take into account the additional risk due to the excess Volkswagen emissions, then roughly 60 people have died or will die early, and on average, a decade or more early.” Click here to learn more.
What’s the Problem?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Volkswagen falsified U.S. pollution tests on approximately 482,000 diesel engine vehicles by installing “defeat device” software that makes them appear cleaner than they actually are while being tested. Once on the road, the cars would emit 10 to 40 times the legal limit of nitrous oxide (NOx) into the atmosphere.
Which Models are Affected?
- 2010-2015 Audi A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5
- 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta & Jetta Sportswagen
- 2010-2015 Volkswagen Golf & Golf Sportswagen
- 2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle & Beetle Convertible
- 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen has admitted that as many as 11 million vehicles may contain the defeat device software worldwide, including about 2.1 million Audis.
VW’s Audi Division Says 2.1 Million Cars Contain Emissions Cheat Software: CNBC Video
Who Uncovered the Scandal?
VW’s defeat device software was discovered last year by a West Virginia laboratory that was commissioned by a clean energy group that had questioned emission levels in diesel vehicles. For more than a year, Volkswagen maintained that it was not doing anything wrong. Only recently did the automaker admit that it had installed the software in the vehicles to circumvent emissions regulations.
How Will Volkswagen Fix the Problem?
It is still unclear how Volkswagen plans to alter its diesel vehicles so they comply with emissions standards. The company has been ordered to recall the 482,000 affected vehicles in the U.S., and it has suspended sales. Regulators say the cars are safe to drive and that, at least for now, owners don’t need to take any action. But eventually the vehicles will need to be repaired so they can pass emissions tests without the defeat devices.
VW Could Face $18 Billion in Fines
Volkswagen has set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to cover recalls and other expenses related to the emissions scandal. However, the bill is likely to rise. U.S. authorities could impose up to $18 billion in penalties for installing the cheat software. Germany could also slap VW with fines, and nearly 100 class action lawsuits have already been filed by car owners who argue the value of their vehicles has been hurt by the automaker’s deception.
Volkswagen Seeks to Boost Finances
VW is looking for ways to cut costs and boost cash flow to pay for the emissions cheating scandal affecting nearly 11 million vehicles worldwide, according to Reuters. The automakers has set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.2 billion) to help cover the costs, but some analysts think the final bill could be much higher. Click here to learn more.
Automaker Struggles to Maintain Sales Amid Emissions Scandal
New car sales hit a record pace in September, but Volkswagen took a major hit in response to allegations that the automaker rigged millions of its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests. According to CBS News, sales of VW brands fell a combined 5.2% in September, while overall industry sales advanced 12.6%. Click here to learn more.
VW to Adopt New Emissions System for Diesel Engines
The New York Times reports that Volkswagen will revamp the technology it uses to control diesel exhaust in upcoming models by fitting the vehicles with a ‘selective catalytic reduction system,’ which includes a tank of urea-based fluid that filters emissions. The system is similar to an approach VW considered back in 2007, which was ultimately abandoned in favor of the current method at the center of the emissions scandal. Click here to learn more.
Audi Recall Set for January 2016
Volkswagen will begin recalling VW and Audi diesel vehicles affected by the emissions scandal early next year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The recall will begin once German authorities have approved the automaker’s plans to fix the vehicles, and is expected to take most of the year to complete. Click here to learn more.