California ARB to begin enhanced testing of modern light-duty diesel engines to detect emissions cheating (updated)
DOT announces $22.5M in latest round of low or no emissions bus deployment (LoNo) funding

VW: ~5M VW vehicles affected by emissions scandal; working on technical solution; suspension of some employees starting

Volkswagen said that an internal assessment following the revelation of cheating on emissions testing in EA 189 2.0L diesels (earlier post) has concluded that approximately five million Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand vehicles are affected worldwide. In the heat of the initial discovery of the emissions testing cheating, Volkswagen had said that up to 11 million vehicles worldwide could be affected. (Earlier post.)

Certain models and model years of these vehicles (such as the sixth generation Volkswagen Golf, the seventh generation Volkswagen Passat and the first generation Volkswagen Tiguan) are equipped exclusively with type EA 189 diesel engines. Also as previously announced, all new Volkswagen Passenger Car brand vehicles that fulfill the EU6 norm valid throughout Europe are not affected. This therefore also includes the current Golf, Passat and Touran models.

We are working at full speed on a technical solution that we will present to partners, to our customers and to the public as swiftly as possible. Our aim is to inform our customers as quickly as possible, so that their vehicles comply fully with regulations. I assure you that Volkswagen will do everything humanly possible to win back the trust of our customers, the dealerships and the public.

—Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand will inform all markets worldwide how many of vehicles are affected locally. Volkswagen is working intensively on remedial measures in close coordination with the certification authorities. The affected vehicles are and remain technically safe and roadworthy.

For its part, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG earlier today appointed Porsche boss Matthias Müller (whose academic degree is in computer science) to replace Martin Winterkorn, who resigned over the crisis, as CEO of the Group. (Earlier post.) The Board also began the restructuring of the Group in the wake of the emissions scandal. (Earlier post.)

At Friday’s end—exactly one week after the scandal emerged (earlier post), the Board issued a statement saying:

There is absolutely no excuse for the manipulations which have deeply shocked Volkswagen. The company will leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of this, will call those responsible to account, and take the necessary actions.

Initial action decided upon by the Board, in addition to the appointment of Müller and the restructuring of the Group, include:

  1. The Supervisory Board has authorized the Chairman to mandate German and US lawyers to investigate and fully clarify the manipulation of emissions data of diesel engines.

  2. The Executive Committee of the Supervisory Board will be charged with coordinating and safeguarding all necessary steps to monitor clarification until such time as a proposed committee commences its work.

  3. With the information currently available the Supervisory Board recommended the immediate suspension of some employees. This process is already underway.

  4. The Supervisory Board resolved to propose to the Extraordinary Meeting of Shareholders on 9 November 2015 to elect Hans Dieter Pötsch—Member of the Board of Management for the Group responsible for Finance and Controlling, and CFO of Porsche—as a member of the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board intends to subsequently elect him as its Chairman.

The test manipulations are a moral and political disaster for Volkswagen. The unlawful behavior of engineers and technicians involved in engine development shocked Volkswagen just as much as it shocked the public. We can only apologize and ask our customers, the public, the authorities and our investors to give us a chance to make amends.

—Berthold Huber, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board commissioned a US law firm to assist in further clarification and in preparing the necessary steps.


Account Deleted

Even 5 million VW diesels that pollute up to 40 times the legal limits is equal to pollution from 5*40 = 200 million legal diesel vehicles. This is a lot of extra air pollution in all counties that sell VW cars and it is certain to create premature death for 10s of thousands of people every year. It can help explain why air pollution levels are dangerously high in most European cities during many weeks of the year. These 5 million dirty diesels need to be taken off the road ASAP. Affected VW owners should be ordered by the relevant authorities to bring in their cars ASAP to VW service shops and get a loaner vehicle instead until VW finds out how to fix the cars. It is absolutely not OK that highly polluting vehicles continues to cause premature death on a grand scale. VW should also be fined for causing this massive pollution. In the US legislation a fine up to 35k USD per cheating vehicle is possible. The EU needs to fine VW for this as well. Air pollution is know to cause 7 million premature death every year on our planet. That is 12% of all humans on the planet will live a significantly shorter life because of air pollution. This is as serious as it gets. Air pollution is far more deadly than global terrorism that hardly registers by comparison. VW and police detectives also need to work fast to find those who did this and gather to evidence to trial them. There must be at least a hundred of VW 600,000 employees that are implicated. They need to be bought to justice for this appalling crime.

WHO on 7 million air pollution death.


I realize that the key point in this whole fiasco is that VW appears to have willfully deceived their customers and the regulators, however, I find myself wondering how the actual emissions of NOx compare to the total emissions from all diesels. One sees as many Dodge, Ford and Chevy diesels around here and if you are travelling behind one its not hard to conclude that they are diesels, so my question is are their emissions lower than the cheat versions of the VW?


More than likely yes, if they are law abiding citizens / companies. People do like to add more fuel than necessary with tuners(to produce black smoke(partially burned fuel)).
Diesels have tons of after treatment, the only thing coming out of the tailpipe should be CO2 with a smattering of NOx and Soot/HCs, and maybe some ammonia from the urea. Modern diesels are scrubbed better than gasoline ICEs and offer typically cleaner exhaust streams. (In the US, with current standards... not talking old ones)

Talk is to make the gasoline ICEs go the route of diesel after treatment because its so thorough.(but its like $6-10K worth of equipment so its not gaining too much traction). That's why VW was one of the very few diesel providers in the US, its not really cost effective in the sedan market... trucks can amortize the cost more easily.

From personal experience, barring any secret codes yet to be found, I would give it a strong yes Calgarygary, but I should mention NOx is measured in ppm, so bigger displacement/more air allows for more NOx to be passed through legally... but still 2L vs 6.7L is nowhere near the 40x the standards. Most of diesel exhaust is ambient air... O2 numbers are fairly high unless its accelerating, its a very different animal to meter than gasoline ICEs.


NOx is measured in ppm, but converted in Euro 6 passenger cars to NOx g/km and for heavy duty engines Euro VI in g/kWh, so increased amount of air in bigger deplacement engines is compensated for.


Thanks CE.

Maybe the solution will be to abandon diesels as light duty low cost vehicles (unless another company is able to meet standards cost effectively). I wonder how that might affect refiners? This could be a shot in the arm for hybrids and PHEV's. It will be interesting to watch how this plays out.


Given that the fraction of NOx contributed by the VW diesel cheat is very small, I'd wager that the observable effect of software updates to eliminate the "cheat" will be zero.  Diesel cars aren't enough of the diesel fleet to bump fuel consumption much, and they don't make enough of the total NOx to affect the air much either.

Nick Lyons

The effects of the crime here in the USA pale in comparison to the effect in the EU, where diesel > 50% of cars. The air pollution in cities kills people, and NOx is a prime contributor. VW has blood on its hands.


They already tried to fix the problem with a software update the first time (the EPA triggered recall in 2014). It didn't work, hence the EPA stepping things up now. VW had the opportunity to default cars to the rolling road map at this stage, but didn't. We can only assume this means the low emission map renders the car rubbish to drive or uneconomical.

If that's the case, they'll either have to scrap, or fit urea injection, to all affected US cars. Either way, that's a much bigger bill than a simple software fix (in addition to the fines/claims etc).

The BEV crowd must be loving this.


I'd say a software fix should be enough... though as you said clett... the car may be rubbish to drive.

Likely they will make the car slower to respond to driver inputs on the accelerator pedal allowing the car to maintain emissions control, they will also de-rate the engine max power to avoid high NOx emissions.

A software issue got them into this mess, and likely it will get them out.

I will say... this could lead to reliability issues with the emissions systems installed on the vehicles already... I mean if they built it knowing that the system would be utilized once every year... odds are its not really up to snuff.

Odds are the governments and VW will come to an agreement... I imagine a monetary settlement, reprogramming of effected vehicles (it may not even get them legally up to EPA/CARB standards... but it will get close enough to be satisfactory for them)

This really could end VW as we know it... especially if 18Billion dollar fines are carried out. (and that would be just in the US... keep in mind Canada, China, the EU, India, etc.)

My money is on VW receiving a bigger fine for this than GM did for lying about killing 126+ people. That's how the US is run anyway...

Nick Lyons

As clett says, if there were an easy fix, VW would have already rolled it out. I honestly don't know how they get out of this without either buying all the cars back or essentially rebuilding all the engines to use urea injection somehow--or replace old engines with their new 2.0 litre which includes urea injection?? I just don't see it. I would love to be a fly on the wall at the meetings where this is hashed out. Any Rube Goldberg technical solution will have to be paired with some kind of extended warranty, I'm sure. They are *so* royally screwed.


It takes time for approval from VWs own people and from the courts for action to be taken... most recalls are known months or even a year before they are issued... this sort of just fell into VWs lap recently. The scope of this fix is massive... we are talking generations of vehicles, multiple region codes, older technology /ECUs etc. Its a very big recall just in the US, odds are it will come out in waves, like how most big recalls are done.

I don't expect a solution before VW is slapped with fines and has their day in court so to speak. The EPA will have to determine what sort of fix is acceptable / required. The EPA will work with VW to see that a fix is carried out... its just courts and recalls take massive amounts of time to complete. Soon as the recall is issued, there is a clock that starts, and makers get fined based on how quickly they can get almost all of the affected cars fixed.

If you ignore recalls for a vehicle in the states on your own vehicle, you'll probably have dealerships calling your house every day to get you in and serviced, especially if it is a safety recall.

Odds are programming can get them close enough to good that the EPA will slap their wrist with a fine, accept the half measure and call it a day.

If they change the emissions system on the car I could see it being warranted for another 50-100K miles on top of existing.


I suspect it would be cheaper to give people new cars than to retrofit new engines or exhaust systems.

Richard Slay

I guess another approach would be to have VW foot the bill for removing other sources of pollution equivalent to the sum total of their rigged cars. Problem is, you'd have to work that out for each locality. If we view NOx as a primarily urban problem, then VW argues that only its cars in urban areas should be used to determine that total pollution in each city and proper remedies. That still leaves VW open to civil lawsuits over loss of resale value.

For instance, a cash-for-clunkers program for pre-Tier5 diesels from all brands. But there aren't enough old diesel cars running in the US for that to work. If you extend it to commercial vehicles, are new commercial diesels sufficiently improved to justify replacement?


Unless the potential $18B to $100B in penalties are used by governments and individuals to offset the pollution created by faulty VW diesels; forcing VW to take appropriate actions to effect equivalent corrections may be another acceptable solution.

Something like 1M to 2M (free) electrified vehicles would cost about the same and could have the required effects over the next 5 years or so.

Distribution of the free electrified vehicles could be somewhat of a headache. A (computerized) lottery restricted to current VW diesel owners could be used?


Look at how many parties now have good cause to sue VW: the US government agencies (EPA etc), VW car owners all over the world, VW stock holders, automotive parts suppliers with exposure to diesel, and if the bottom falls out of the diesel market, every other car manufacturer with diesel exposure (BMW, Merc, Opel, Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen, Renault....).

I'm not sure they'll have enough money after all this to put the cars right. Might Angela be asked for another bailout?


The offset solution will accomplish the most good for citizens. To spend resources on courts, lawyers, gov't bureaucrats funding, and to force VW to spend fortune on engineering upon obsolete vehicle seems regressive. Sure, do the lower cost improvements to tweak engine horsepower and performance to lower emissions and pay customers for misdeeds, but better to utilize the penalty money upon public works projects upon cities that are affected. Examples; metro tree planting and management, reforestation, wildlife habitat. These improvements will have generations of benefit and multiple times the benefit as compared to the typical awards received by regulation industry (extra funding). Awarding government funding is a conflict of interest that present day seems to be very active. The tyrannical power of EPA to decide such matters internally to gov't politics is a very corruptible force. This power should be curtailed by representative gov't.


And the irony is that after VW certifies and installs its EPA-compliant fix, lots of VW owners are going to visit tuners to change it all right back again.


Germany has given VW 10 days to come up with a plan.


Germany has given VW 10 days to come up with a plan.


My apologies for the double posting, the server for this site was acting up.

The comments to this entry are closed.