VW emissions scandal: Audi appoints new temporary boss

Audi has appointed a new chairman for its management board after the company"s chief executive, Rupert Stadler, was arrested by German authorities in connection with an investigation into the VW diesel emissions scandal.

The new chairman, Abraham Schot, is head of Audi"s sales and marketing, and has taken his new role "on a temporary basis with immediate effect". The move comes after Stadler "requested that the Supervisory Board release him from his position" on Audi"s and VW"s boards of management. Audi says, however, that: "This release applies temporarily, until the circumstances that led to his arrest have been clarified."

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Audi is one of the four manufacturers involved in the scandal that began in September 2015, which saw over 11 million vehicles worldwide fitted with an emissions-tampering "defeat device."

German prosecutors said they feared Stadler may suppress evidence. Volkswagen Group has confirmed Stadler has been detained by the authorities, while the Munich authorities have said Stadler will first speak to his lawyers before facing questions from the prosecution.

VW agrees to €1 billion fine from German authorities

The news comes after Volkswagen was fined €1 billion (£880,000) by German authorities, after prosecutors in Brunswick concluded the company failed to properly oversee its engine development department by supplying cars with “impermissible software functions” as part of the long-running emissions scandal.

• Best low emissions green cars on sale now

Volkswagen will not appeal the fine. A statement released by the company said: “Following thorough examination, Volkswagen AG accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it. Volkswagen AG, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome.” The fine does not, prosecutors said, preclude civil claims being made against the company by vehicle owners.

The German fine is the single largest penalty imposed on Volkswagen in Europe, but the company has already dedicated $17.5 billion towards a settlement with American authorities. This includes a $10 billion US vehicle buyback and a $4.7 billion fund for clean car and emission offset projects.

Dieselgate scandal: previous reportsExperts find dieselgate fix Golf uses up to 14% more fuel

The fine imposed by German prosecutors follows a study that found VW’s dieselgate recall fix caused a Volkswagen Golf to use 14 per cent more fuel than it did prior to the work being carried out.

Researchers from the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) commissioned consultants to assess a 2010 Golf before and after the recall work had been carried out. The tests showed an average increase in fuel consumption of 7 per cent, with a 14 per cent rise when the car was driven at highway speed.

And while emissions of oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and particulate matter were lower after the recall work had been carried out, the Golf in question still emitted four times more NOx than new real-world emissions limits allow.

The tests were, according to the AAA, “conducted according to European Commission protocols, adapted for Australian driving conditions and speed limits”.

The AAA’s research, carried in conjunction with Fédération Internationale de l"Automobile by consultants ABMARC, also found the Golf produced slightly more power and torque after the recall work.

VW spokesman, Paul Pottinger, strongly rejected the AAA’s findings: "The German government approved Volkswagen’s software update on the basis that it did not adversely affect the emissions or fuel economy of vehicles in test conditions.

“Their conclusions after testing these cars, consistent with the views of the German government agency responsible for approving the software update, are exactly the opposite of what the AAA has asserted its testing shows.”

Owners report issues with dieselgate fix

An earlier report from law firm Harcus Sinclair said that out of 9,500 owners of cars affected by the dieselgate scandal, 5,052 reported problems with their car after recall work to fix emission issues had been carried out. Over half of those said it was to do with reduced fuel efficiency, while another 41 per cent said their cars came with reduced power and acceleration. 

• Car recalls: everything you need to know

A BBC Watchdog investigation also found several owners had complained of their car going into limp mode, resulting in accidents and other dangerous situations on the road. 

The show found reported independent engine tests before and after the technical fix as showing that the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve was working harder than it should be. 

Figures previously obtained by Auto Express from Hypermiler.co.uk found 87 per cent of the 542 owners who had the emissions fix carried out experienced mechanical problems – 66.9 per cent had EGR problems, and 14 per cent had Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) issues.

VW defended its position at the time, stating: "Implementation of the technical measures does not cause limp mode to engage nor does it increase the incidence of limp mode occurring." 

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VW Group UK hq

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Audi recalls V8 diesel A8

Back in November 2017, Audi revealed it was recalling 5,000 V8 diesel versions of its previous-generation flagship A8. The cars, built between September 2013 and August 2017, were said to exceed nitrogen oxide limits. 

Volkswagen’s UK boss defends position

Volkswagen UK boss Paul Willis previously rebuked the suggestion that he misled Government ministers over how much the company is willing to contribute to testing in the wake of its emissions scandal.

The Department for Transport (DfT) accused VW of failing to pay for the UK Government"s emissions retesting programme, despite promises from the company that taxpayers wouldn"t be left out of pocket. 

Though VW paid the £1.1million last November, the DfT has said it wants a further £1million from VW as the carmaker"s actions cast doubt "on the integrity of the whole industry."

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express, Willis hit back at suggestions he is holding back payments: "The DfT asked us for £2m, but it was in two slices. The first slice was £1.1m initially, to cover the costs of re-testing our vehicles. And then they also asked for a further £1m for ‘future market surveillance of buses and taxis’.

“We looked at it in detail, and concluded that there was the basis for us to pay the £1.1m. However, in a letter that I wrote to the transport minister on 17 November last year, I explained why we would not be paying for future market surveillance.

“I’ve had three subsequent meetings with [transport minister John Hayes], and he has not mentioned this matter. He told parliament that we are paying £1.1m. So my reasonable conclusion was that he’d accepted our case.”

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VW group cars

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Volkswagen emissions scandal compensation around the world

In the US, VW has reached a $17.5billion (£14.1bn) deal with US owners to buy back affected vehicles and compensate owners. There are no similar plans for UK owners, although VW is still facing pressure from the EU Commission to put something in place.

Europe

Calls for compensation are growing in Europe but so far VW has rejected claims. A number of owners have started legal cases, though, against the car maker including in Ireland. European consumer groups have already said the VW Group has not provided enough evidence and information to owners.

USA

Earlier in September, US courts convicted the first VW employee guilty of violating US clean air laws. Veteran engineer James Liang was part of the team of engineers who developed the illicit defeat device. Liang has agreed to cooperate with the US Justice Department"s investigation into the VW Group.

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Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDI badge

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Volkswagen also reached a $17.5 billion (£14.1 billion) settlement with US car owners over the dieselgate emissions scandal, which has now been approved by the US courts. Under the deal VW will spend up to $10 billion on buying back affected cars and compensating owners. It"s also committed $4.7 billion to offset excess emissions and to clean car projects. 

Vehicle owners will be able to choose between having their car bought back by VW, or to have it fixed. However the US authorities have yet to approve an official fix. On top, consumers will receive compensation between $5,000 and $10,000.  

South Korea

South Korean authorities halted sales of 80 Volkswagen Group models and imposed a £12m fine on the company after an investigation into the dieselgate emissions scandal. Allegations that the company has forged documents relating to emissions tests have resulted in the vehicles from the Volkswagen, Audi and Bentley brands having their type approval revoked.

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VW emissions scandal timeline: how "dieselgate" happened

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VW emissions crisis: your key questions answered

What is a defeat device?

The software, found by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detects when the vehicle is undergoing emissions tests and activates full emissions control measures to produce results far better than those achieved in real-world driving. 

The net result is that cars pass strict US emissions limits under laboratory conditions, but when unplugged from the testing rigs, the EPA states that the diesel engines emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) up to 40 times the legal limit. The limits for NOx emissions in Europe are less stringent than the EPA’s standards.

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What cars and engines were affected?

Around 11 million diesel cars with EA 189 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0-litre pre-Euro 6 diesel engines have been identified by Volkswagen as containing the ‘defeat device’ software. These include:

The VW Group has said that the following quantities of UK vehicles are set for a recall... 

  • • VW passenger cars - 508,276
  • • Audi - 393,450
  • • SEAT - 76,773
  • • Skoda - 131,569
  • • VW commercial vehicles - 79,838

Total VW Group cars set for UK recall: 1,189,906

What does the recall involve?

2.0-litre and 1.2-litre diesels will receive a software tweak, while vehicles with a 1.6-litre diesel will need to be fitted with a ‘flow transformer’ device to help the engine’s computer calculate the right amount of fuel and air being combusted.

This means around 400,000 UK cars will require mechanical changes - but VW says they should take less than an hour to make at dealerships. The software update for 2.0 and 1.2 engines will take around half an hour."

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VW website

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What should I do if I own an affected car?

The VW scandal shouldn’t affect your everyday driving; the software only alters the car’s behaviour when it detects that an emissions test is being carried out. However, VW and the other affected brands have issued recalls in the UK and you will be contacted if your car involved. 

You can check at the websites below if you car is affected. All you need is your car"s VIN number which should be located at the bottom corner of the windscreen on the driver"s side or in the car"s service book.

  • • VW recall website 
  • • Skoda recall website 
  • • SEAT recall website
  • • Audi recall website   
Will I get compensation?

VW has confirmed there will be no compensation for UK owners with cars affected by the emissions scandal. This is based on the fact that the fixes designed by VW are said to have no impact on the car’s performance or economy and no EU laws have been broken. At this stage, VW residual values also appear to be unaffected by the scandal.

In certain cases a “support package” may be made available to customers in the form of a goodwill gesture – for example if an owner living in a remote area faces a lengthy journey to get the necessary remedial work done on their car.

Will I pay a higher vehicle tax rate?

No. The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that UK taxpayers will not incur higher vehicle excise duty (VED) if their existing vehicles are found fitted with the defeat device software. Volkswagen UK has also said it will pay for any extra tax owners might incur if their vehicles are found to pollute more.

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Volkswagen Phaeton

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What does this mean for emissions and mpg testing, how will it look in the future?

There are already plans to adopt more stringent emissions and mpg tests in the EU. A World Harmonised Light Vehicle Testing Procedure (WLTP) is scheduled to come into force in 2017, and will introduce a global set of emissions testing standards. The WLTP is developed to be more representative of real world driving conditions, with more dynamic braking, acceleration and speed times.

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The WLTP will also feature a Real World Driving Emissions (RDE) test, which would consists of a real-world driving scenario for emissions tests. Cars will be hooked to machinery that records their emissions as they are driven on the road and feeds them to a computer. 

What do you think VW should do to remedy this situation? Tell us in the comments below...

Nguồn: www.autoexpress.co.uk