Volkswagengate – CO2 fears unfounded

Hot on the heels of VW’s announcement that fixing their much-publicised NOx “defeat device” issue is not as difficult as expected comes the news that the incorrect CO2 levels they admitted to are also pretty insignificant.  They have now confirmed that no unlawful changes to the stated fuel consumption and CO2 figures has been found to date. Indeed, only a small number of the model variants of new cars will need to have their CO2 & fuel consumption figures slightly adjusted. This is highly significant: for all their self-righteous indignation surrounding the NOx defeat device and its effect on emissions, most people are in all honesty not too worried about what comes out of their cars exhaust pipe. However, they are far more concerned about anything which might hit their pockets, which is why the CO2 and fuel consumption issue was probably the most important issue facing Volkswagen.

So just a month after questions relating to the CO2 figures measured on some of the Group’s models arose, Volkswagen are telling us that they now have a clear position. Following extensive internal investigations and measurement checks, they are clear that almost all of their multitude of models and variants do in fact correspond to the CO2, and fuel consumption figures presently advertised. Their own internal suspicions that the fuel consumption figures of many of their current production vehicles had been unlawfully changed have therefore not been confirmed. During VW’s internal re-testing slight deviations were found on just nine model variants of the Volkswagen brand. These are the nine models affected, most of which are diesels and not the petrol- engined models originally thought to have been at risk:-

Car Engine   Gearbox
Polo
Scirocco
Jetta
Jetta
1.0l TSI BlueMotion 70kW EU6
2.0l TDI BMT 135kW EU6
1.2l TSI BMT 77kW EU6
2.0l TDI BMT 81kW EU6
Seven-speed (DSG)
Six-speed manual gearbox
Six-speed manual gearbox
Five-speed manual gearbox
Golf Convertible
Golf
Passat Alltrack
Passat Variant
Passat Variant
2.0l TDI BMT 81kW EU6
2.0l TDI BMT 110kW EU6
2.0l TSI 4MOTION BMT 162kW EU6
2.0l TDI SCR 4MOTION BMT 176kW EU6
1.4l TSI ACT BMT 110kW EU6
Five-speed manual gearbox
Six-speed manual gearbox
Seven-speed (DSG)
Seven-speed (DSG)
Six-speed manual gearbox

Thankfully, VW’s original doomsday figure of approximately 800,000 vehicles under suspicion therefore no longer seems valid. With an annual production of approximately 36,000 vehicles, the nine model variants affected form only around 1/2% of VW’s annual volume.

Even on the nine model variants affected, the discrepancies from the published figures amount to a few grams of CO2 on average, corresponding to an increased fuel consumption measured on the standard European test cycle of  approximately 0.1 to 0.2 litres per 100 kilometres (1/2 to 1 mpg). Importantly, VW believe that customers’ real-world consumption figures will not change and neither are any technical vehicle modifications necessary. The nine affected model variants will be re-measured by a neutral technical service under the supervision of the appropriate authority by Christmas. In cases where the correctness of original figures is confirmed, there will be no consequences.  In the case of any deviations, the published figures will be adjusted in the future in the course of the normal processes as required. Volkswagen have now presented these results to the investigation commission of the German Federal Government and the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).

Audi, Skoda and Seat have also agreed a similar procedure with the approval authorities responsible for the vehicles initially considered.

Clearly, the €2 billion negative impact on VW’s sales earnings of the CO2 issue now looks unlikely. Whether there remains a relatively minor economic impact, depends on the results of the re-measurement exercise, and whether the damage to Volkswagens reputation can be rebuilt without losing too many sales.

So now that the dust is settling on the Volkswagengate / Dieselgate / Defeat Device issue, have VW shot themselves spectacularly in the foot by being too quick to admit to possible problems? Or would they have been better fudging the issue, politician-style, and avoiding accepting any liability until they had established all the facts? Time will tell……………for once, honesty may sadly not have been the best policy!

Note for readers in the USA & Canada : the above information released by Volkswagen on 10th December 2015 does not apply to products and services from the Volkswagen Group of America or Volkswagen Canada.

VW Golf GTD

A Golf GTD – like most of VW’s models, it is not affected by the CO2 issue

 

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