VW faces billions in fines for an alleged Emissions fraud writes Geraldine Herbert
What are VW accused of?
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believe that Volkswagen have been using software on their “clean diesel” cars that only actually works when it is being tested by emission regulators.
How does the software work?
The software device works by ensuring the car’s emissions systems only works when the cars are being tested for emissions. When the car is being driven during normal use, the systems that are designed to restrict the amount of emissions do not activate-making the car a much significant polluter in real-life than the official figures suggested.
The sophistication of the software used to manipulate the emission levels would suggest this is a deliberate and willful fraud.
What models are affected?
This so called “defeat device” was allegedly used in the US on the VW Jetta, VW Beetle, VW Golf and Audi A3 of model years from 2009 to 2015 and the VW Passat from model years 2014 and 2015.
How have the EPA Responded?
By making and selling vehicles with this ‘defeat device’ software, Volkswagen has violated what is known in the United States as the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to certify to the EPA that their products meet federal air-pollution standards. In response to this allegation Volkswagen have been ordered to recall 482,000 cars.
What are Volkswagen saying?
Volkswagen’s Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn has apologized to customers for “broken trust” and has ordered an external investigation of the matter.
What happens if VW are found guilty?
If they are found guilty under U.S. EPA law, each car would be subject to a $37,500 fine – meaning a potential penalty of up to $18 billion.
What is the impact for Europe?
The European Commission has been in contact with the US regulators but at this stage is it unknown whether VW cars in Europe have this feature.
Will VW survive this deception?
Volkswagen shares have been plummeting today with shares losing more than 20 percent of their value, an estimated 15.3 billion. But apart from the financial loss can VW reclaim trust? They are already being called the “Lance Armstrong” of the car market by the US press.
21st September, 2015