/ Motoring

VW scandal rocks the industry – do you still trust car makers?


Volkswagen has come under fire for cheating official car pollution tests in the US and Europe. Isn’t it about time we could trust the claims car makers make?

Today’s headlines extensively cover the Volkswagen scandal, where the car manufacturer has admitted rigging environmental tests. Since then, the story has escalated quickly, with many European Ministers calling for an EU-wide investigation into the issue.

Volkswagen emissions scandal

The scheme was discovered by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which noticed discrepancies in results of laboratory and real-world testing of diesel Volkswagen cars in Europe. ICCT then tested the cars’ actual emissions in real-world driving in the US, where car emission limits are much lower than in Europe. Much to their surprise the pattern was repeated – while the cars passed lab tests performed by the California Air Resources Board, they failed the real-world tests.

So what was going on? Well, Volkswagen managed to artificially lower its tailpipe emissions by using a ‘defeat device’. This allowed Volkswagen to hide the fact that its diesel cars produce pollution up to 40 times the legal limit. We’ve got a bit more info about how this works in our online Q&A, but in short it can detect when the car is being run under lab conditions. Once the car returns to normal road use, the software switches itself off.

Volkswagen has said that 11 million of its diesel cars are affected around the world, with models such as the Golf, Passat and Audi A3 included. The company had already been ordered to recall 500,000 cars in the US, and has set aside €6.5bn to deal with the cost of the scandal.

Fuel economy claims

Car makers claiming figures that are unachievable in real life isn’t news to us. In spite of miles per gallon (MPG) figures being used to pass official standards and promote product characteristics in advertising, we’ve repeatedly shown that these claims very frequently miss their mark, and this is across all manufacturers.

Considering the Volkswagen story we decided to look at the MPG values of diesel cars from both VW and its competitors. You can see the full results here, but on average they missed their claimed figures by 12%.

That’s why we’re calling for a new, more stringent and more accurate fuel economy test to be put into place by 2017 so that you can once again trust the official figures you see when purchasing a car. Hopefully, some good will come out of this scandal in that it helps our cause and convinces the European Commission and national European governments that they need to put an end to the loopholes and lax tests.

Has the Volkswagen scandal changed your view of car manufacturers? Do you think the government should implement more stringent and accurate testing for cars?

[UPDATE 24/09/2015] – The government plans to launch an investigation into vehicle emissions. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

‘The Vehicle Certification Agency, the UK regulator, is working with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that this issue is not industry wide. As part of this work they will re-run laboratory tests where necessary and compare them against real world driving emissions.

‘We have called on the EU to conduct a Europe wide investigation into whether there is evidence that cars here have been fitted with defeat devices. My priority is to protect the public as we go through the process of investigating what went wrong and what we can do to stop it happening again in the future.’

[UPDATE 26/09/2015] – After more than 9,000 votes, 95% of you said that you wanted action on misleading fuel claims. So we have launched a campaign calling on the car industry to Come Clean on Fuel Claims. Show your support by signing our petition.

[UPDATE 30/09/2015]Volkswagen has announced that more than one million UK vehicles are affected by its diesel emissions scandal, including Audi, Seat and Skoda cars. A VW spokesperson said: ‘Step by step, affected customers will be contacted, with details of a process to get their vehicles corrected in the near future. In the meantime, all vehicles are technically safe and roadworthy.’

Details of affected cars will be released to retailers in the ‘coming days’ and there will be a self-service process for customers to check if their car needs to be corrected.


Which? has jusr added to its website:
” hero.small.products.skodaoctavia.nov29
If you want a large, practical car, is the Skoda Octavia Scout the one for you?
Why should I buy one?”

The full review includes:

“If you find the image of a 4×4 a turn off, but want a large, practical car with the added security of four-wheel-drive, the Octavia Scout is a strong contender.
However, just two engines – both diesel – are available
Due to the emissions scandal affecting many VW Group diesel engines built during 2009-2015, we do not currently recommend diesel versions of this car.”

Is this not sending a rather mixed message. Should Which? be promoting, or presenting for consideration, any VW Group cars – particularly only with 2.0 diesel engines – until the present problem is fully understood and corrected? The last paragraph does say what they think, so why the promotion?

In mitigation, and I have some sympathy with this view, perhaps although the “cheat” is a scandal, it is not regarded as so bad that they should be totally blacklisted. Potential customers should be kept up to date with products so that they can make up their own minds what they decide to buy and which companies they are still prepared to patronise.

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I’ve a 22 year old Diesel Espace which now lacks air conditioning and the heater fan only works on full speed but—it always starts, is frugal, does not burn oil at all, and owes me not a penny. A real reliable workhorse. But. like yours, it no doubt produces in today’s terms excessive pollution. To reduce pollution – if we really mean that- could be achieved by removing all pre-Euro5 engined cars from the roads. Who would feel strongly enough to do that? I bet not many of those with the cars that I speak of.

So I think separating out a car company cheat from a clamour about air pollution might be kept separate? There are many ways we can cut current air pollution more effectively than just tinkering with new-car emissions, if we so chose.

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duncan, mine also passes the MoT test. The point I was really getting at was that post-2000 the emissions limits specified on new vehicles are very substantially lower than when mine was built. Particulate matter for diesels is now 1/10 of what it was, CO has been reduced and NOx limits introduced. So whilst I would not to see my old car banned, removing all older cars would hugely affect the emissions on our roads. And for light and heavy goods vehicles too (and no doubt buses).

Hi Malcolm. Maybe need to add that although the PM as you see it is vastly reduced since your car was made I am not happy with the alternative stuff this newer lot are chucking out.
Personally and I’m choked with black stuff I’m of the opinion that I’ll work with what I see rather than the stuff we are led to believe is not there.
I personally have no trouble seeing the newer ash type emissions when someone leans on the go pedal.
The PM10s did not disapear they were just converted into something worse.
I would rather have the generation just prior to the DPFs because they emitted what you seen as far as PM10s or ash was concerned.
That would be the diesels just after your car. Yes the NOX was higher than our current numbers but the current cars are not meeting the current expectations anyhow so what’s the point in worrying.
After DPFs even more power could be had for less visible soot. EGRs could be made to work much harder to allow for more power whilst keeping NOX at bay and the DPF could cover the tracks as such of the additional soot.
Then back to VW they had a mind of their own.
Your impressed by the reliability of your diesels over the years and although I defend my opinion of petrol reliability I wont argue you have had good service but later diesels are often blamed for being too complicated and we have a earlier DPA type pump diesel and a later common rail and I have worked at loads of both types. Yes I liked the old DPA type pumps but??
The common rails have been pretty good if it were not for the EGR and later DPF.
Take my word for it, remove those two from the equation and your oil will last twice as long and it’ll go for many years.
Overall that doesnt help those of us who hate city fumes but I’m also aware that it’ll take several years to see the reduction in diesel cars no matter what is changed in 2016 or 17. There will be no quick fix, its that simple.
The value of current model diesel cars on the road across the country and globe is of such monetary value that to replace them or indeed make them right as many suggest as in meet the current requirements but in real time on road test conditions is right out of the ball park.
Diesels are dirty. Oil in oil out. Add as many anti pollution items as you like its a bit like a coal powered power station. Black in black out. Did you ever try washing anything in diesel. Not easy. One will be looking at minimum heating oil/kero or better petrol. LS and ULS are better but the fuel is a little like a leaner version of 2 stroke mixture. There is lube in it and lube doesnt like to burn quickly and burning in a cylinder is quick at any rpm.

My twopence worth.
I cannot say there is a bad car today. Some French cars in particular have rubbish for wires for whatever reason I dont know but the engines are good for decades both petrol and diesels.
Malcolm your old Espace is from a generation that was reliable albeit we had one and every so often we had problems with the big pcb above the passengers feet. I got to dislike that board. Dont be selling it because its dirty because its maybe not so dirty as you think.
I would expect no engines to use oil today and even over the last 30 years I have owned very little that needed topping up with oil.
If we go back to 70s and 80s then that situation would not be so good. Many cars back then and before used oil and some seemed like they were 2 stroke’s before they had 50k on them. Rubbish and I hate to say it but they were British mostly.
As to scrapping older diesels and keeping the more recent ones??
I have wrote several time that since the advent of common rail there have been a growing band of diesel tuners and with the advent of both EGRs and DPFs this band of warriors have flourished. Why? Because these later diesels whilst kinda cleaner are, in my mind a bit of a myth. Not only are most if not all manufacturers avoiding the real emissions requirements although no doubt some will defend them by saying its the fault of the test but I dont go with that one.
On top of that we now have the VW group lie.
These later supposed to be cleaner diesels are far from as clean as we would have expected at new and when not so very old all these valves and filters start to give up and are simply not an affordable fix for the then owners hence the 1000s employed in simple disabling the function of these items in a not very different fashion to the VW cheat.
The cheat cannot be found at MOT and to raise the bar for MOT is not practical so relying on our annual test is simply not a starter.
To suggest plugging into the management system to see if its altered? If you think that’s possible just look again at VW. I doubt if anyone can find their cheat. This management doesnt come up on a screen like “windows” with all easy to see parameters and and alterations for all to see. This is an engine management system not a computer for surfing the net of doing spreadsheets on.
Duncan your ST is no exception and I was a big Ford fan for many years. I had a flatfront with ZF box, atlas and 4 pots etc. You know where I’m coming from lets say.
I have quoted more than once that we had an 1108cc petrol engine do over 260,000 miles with no problems and the day it went to be baled it still didnt use oil.
As to exhaust emmissions. We still have a little petrol Fiat 1999 and I wish I had kept the MOT print out because with all this emissions chat I checked when I got home and the thing would have passed a test for a car 10 years younger. Seldom have we had problems with petrol injection engines at any miles. I had a v6 Granada that I sold with almost 500,000m. Greedy but a great car
As to the supposed mpg differences we are transfixed on price per litre not because that is the right way to sell the stuff but because that is the way it is sold.
For a start if the fuel was sold on a weight basis then diesel would go up in price, lpg would come down
If fuel was sold on a calorie basis then diesel would go up further and lpg would come down further much further.
I owned a Land Rover after market business and drove the things for many years right up through the rising popularity of the 4×4. Personally I do not believe that 10% of road going 4x4s are needed. Think what you must but winter on winter we are getting it milder and milder and we mostly dont use them off road anyhow.
Since selling my LR business some 20 years ago we have never owned any form of a 4×4 and we are miles from salted roads and we live in the hills. We got to work every day. I regularly overtook 4x4s. Learn to drive because 4×4 or not if you dont treat the pedal on the right with extreme care you’ll get stuck. Smooth smooth and smoother with as narrow as possible tyres and you’ll get where your going unless your in mountainous regions.
There are much colder and snowier places than the UK and everyone doesnt have a 4×4. Its a fashion statement.
The above mentioned Skoda models being only available in diesel is no surprise. Try looking for a decent size camper in anything else or try looking for an lpg van like a transit. There are a few of those but not many and now we are back with fuel costs again.
lpg by its very nature is quite easily burned reasonably clean without endless goodies to clean the beast up. lpg is near enough 2 litres to the kg whilst diesel is current around the low 800gms per litre. So 2 litres of diesel will weight in at well over 1.6kg.
Now I have had loads of lpg vehicles but the Gov’s and fuel companies pricing does not and never did favour the stuff despite what we were told so yet again we were being led to believe.
We never got proper off the production line lpg vehicles. We were led to believe that we were buying a “works gas ” car when in fact it was first made in petrol and the price, well it was no incentive unless you found one of the many that didnt sell and why because the Gov encentivised diesel.
Our little fiats were all gas and I changed the oil filter and timing belt together at 40k every time without fail. The oil was still fairly clear to the end and the reliability should say it all. The spark ignition engine was reliable as was lpg.
Our diesels on the other hand could never suffer that abuse and if we look at the vehicles that use same engines at different service in intervals reliability issues clearly show up. There are same engines with same oil amounts ranging from 10k to 20k service intervals. If you read the forums about the 20k vehicles then all is not well and the engines are scorned but if you look at the 10k vehicles many many people have great results
Yes while the engine and those d**** EGRs are new its not so bad but new is only a few years
I would never run a diesel for even 10k.
So we have both types and I am well versed in both and have had for many years but I prefer spark ignition in cars.
A generator, a truck, a digger, a tractor, big campers because they are always heavy and all heavy equipment suit diesel much better and that is where the real low rpm high reliability come’s to the fore.
Both petrol and diesel today are reliable and to me the petrol engines gave me personally a much easier time of it as they literally needed nothing. I never remember fitting a petrol fuel filter ever I think. Diesel I couldn’t have done that
Yes we have a Multijet Panda that does great mpg and goes well but I got our daughter in law a 1242 petrol one and yes it does less but the difference is from 62mpg to 57mph. Hardly bankrupting is it. The petrol one will get looked at every MOT time and the mutijet, well gets its oil and oil filter changed every 5k. And yes it’s EGR is not operational not because I dont care but because it is a lost cause and the days it didnt operate properly they spew out black smoke that would make up for years.
I like the little diesel one. there’s no problem with performance and it has a timing chain that doesnt seem to give trouble if the oil is changed plenty but there really isnt much in it.
Our camper is heavy and has a 2.8 Iveco engine in it that is in my opinion anyhow a reasonable engine. It has been around in various guises since the 1980s so its track record is pretty good. It does just shy of 30mpg or 26 with a car behind it. No petrol wouldnt cut it in this job and I couldnt find one anyhow although we looked for near 2 years because we were actually happy enough with our previous 2.0L petrol. They actually never made a powerful version of the petrol like the later diesels for this job so no comparison. Our old 2.0L petrol would be a drag with a car behind it.
I’m happy with that diesel also but id still prefer the spark plugs
Its all in my preference. A personal preference that the diesels brigade seem determined to tell me I’m wrong about. i dont try and tell diesel drivers they are wrong so why am I wrong. Is it not choice.
So as to scrapping cars because of emissions. No I dont agree with that. To manufacture any car requires vast amounts of energy and it even takes energy to scrap the things.
Yes VW should compensate their customers but if courts start to award damages of any real significance then VW are bust.
If we dare think that Gov should subsidise the destruction of older vehicle in order to bring cleaner ones onto the road we need to think again. What was supposed to be clean, was it? No it seems so if Gov had spent our money on this that would have been another mistake a bit like Trident in my eyes.
We need to loo at the costs because like everything is will be us the tax payer who pays for this.
If most argue that internet for the rural should not be paid for by the masses than scrappage is not so good an idea because scrappage would make rural broadband look cheap as chips.
Then we need to look at the energy used to both scrap and reproduce supposed cleaner vehicles. I already know the answers to that and I’m not impressed with the idea in reality not just to get vehicles sold and the economy propped up as was the case at a time
I have been around vehicles and engineering all my life and I’ve chosen to drive petrol or lpg vehicle more often than diesels. Much more often. I was willing to pay the cost although I didnt consider the costs too great.
What I did not do was believe everything I read and for sure I did not believe Gov policy because if there is anything flawed that will be the biggest flaws.
To think that diesel is more reliable is flawed as is to think petrol is more reliable is equally flawed. We cannot compare our petrols from the 1970s and 80s to todays vastly better cars.
One may as well compare a Peugeot 305 1.9 with todays TDIs. I would not want a 305 normally aspirated and refused to drive them. No power. 59hp in a family car. Go try one if you can. Rubbish just like an early Ford.
I earlier referred to a Ford I once owned. I was offered a drive in a Mk2 Rs2000 not so long ago. Terrible and it was in perfect order The not so much later 2.0L Sierra would run rings around it and today the Sierra is old hat.
We have a family car 120hp and it never fails to return below 40mpg if not over 50 on a long run. The power to weight ratio is into 1980s nice car territory and they could barely manage 25 of 30mpg so thing most certainly have changed
That was a lot of views on a lot of subjects but as to trusting manufacturers. No. Do I trust a casino, no. More or less the same thing and where VW was concerned the casino’s odd’s on being more honest may have been better and surely no one can tell me a casino is an inexpensive and good place to be.

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I received a letter from VW this morning. It explains the modifications that they propose to make to my car to address the ‘discrepancies’ in emissions. No definite timescale is given but it seems as that the solutions are likely to arrive (for my model) in the second or third quarter of 2016. I’m beginning to wonder if anything will happen within a year from the time that the problem was discovered.

Hello Wavechange, thanks for sharing. Would you mind emailing a copy of your letter to us? Thanks very much

Will do.

I’m waiting patiently on what the letter says!!!

From the letter: For the 2.0 TDI and 1.2 TDI engines, the solution will involve a software update to the engine management system. We expect that it will take around 30 minutes to complete this software update.

For the 1.6 TDI engine, the solution will involve the fitting of a ‘flow transformer’ directly in front of the air mass sensor. This transformer is a mesh that stabilises the air flow in front of the sensor to improve its accuracy. Accurate measurement of air mass is a very important factor in achieving an optimum combustion process. In addition, we will perform a software update to the engine management system. We expect to complete both processes in less than one hour.

VW are still carrying out tests and vehicles will not be modified until these have been completed. It’s not mentioned, but presumably the software update will remove the ‘cheat’ software.

Thanks Wave,
I’ll have a thought about the shortness of this from VW. I expected more but maybe there’s nothing more they can do.
After 3 months they’ll know what they have available but again maybe all they can is install new software to remove the mask on the EGR.
Time will tell but I’d think that VW will join the endless queue’s of cars with egr/dpf problems especially as they already had occasional egr failures with a valve that barely had to operate. There is also a load of vehicles with the dpf removed because of them blocking in city driving and a working egr will add to that problem.
Again Thanks

I will look at the state of the EGR valve in the spring, but I have not had any problems yet. The salesman did make it quite clear that I should avoid a diesel car if I was doing a lot of short mileage driving, and I was already aware of this.

The vast majority of VW owners have had no trouble with their EGRs simply because if they dont work they dont pass/breath soot so I’d imagine your will look pretty good but it’ll be sooty just not overgrown with the normal mixture of soot and oil
The problem will most likely be that once operating as it should be or was originally intended to work it will encounter the exhaust soot and the oil from the crankcase fumes, Thats the stuff that gives the valve a hard time
An EGR only operates at partial throttle/light load so if your in town it’ll be busy
Once the EGR is recirculating soot the DPF gets a multiple more work to do and tat is the biggest problem of all for the end user.
My son got himself a 5cyl 159 and the EGR had been off for cleaning so many times there was no threads to hold it on. One 1/4unc screw “horsed” in one hole and the other 3 were there with a prayer
I managed to recoil the manifold in situ and get the soot to go down a pipe not stink up the underbonnet.
Goes to show how many times some of these valves have been off and on. It’ll never need to be off again though,
If I were hell bent on retaining an operational EGR I would be having it off every few weeks to examine it and clean it. I’d get a feel for how often I should look at it by the amount of gunk in/on it and adjust the cleaning cycle accordingly
Its not if one of these fail its when one of these fail.
There are few DPFs that have not been replaced or cleaned after 40 or 50k

Hi All , a quick update on my VW (62) plate 1.6 tdi Passat.
I received a letter from Vw to say that my car will have a “flow transmitter “fitted directly in front of the Air mass sensor. along with a software update. This will take place in the 2 or 3 quarter of 2016.

Question for the Tech guys ,

1) what is this device?
2) when fitted will it make a difference to fuel consumption ?

any info would be great

It’s a “flow transformer”, not transmitter. From the description in the letter, “This transformer is a mesh that stabilises the air flow in front of the sensor… ” The purpose of the sensor is to measure air flow. I assume that this will have a minor effect compared with removal of the rogue software that makes the car have lower nitrogen oxide emissions when on test. There will be some increase in fuel consumption but I have not seen any estimate. We will find out eventually, but the 1.6 engines will be the last to be modified. 🙁

I expect there will be a great deal of confusion because the emission standards are different in the US and Europe.

From a recent press conference (or so it seems):
“Pötsch told media the emissions scandal harks back to 2005 when VW launched its diesel offensive in the US. It proved impossible for the EA 189 engine to meet the strict US emissions targets, leading to a group of employees to incorporate the engine with software to give two different emissions readings.

The bosses also admitted there was a culture of rule-breaking being tolerated within certain areas of the company that led to the misconduct and shortcomings of individual employees and weaknesses in some processes.”

The use of the word “employees” is interesting as it suggests people well down the seniority list. It is hard to imagine such decisions being made by people unless they had something to gain from it. So presumably senior members of staff were involved to sanction the “rule breaking”. The implication is that the identities of all these people are known. The shareholders might like, and are entitled, to know who they are even if no one else is.

If we are concerned about what’s going on in local authorities, government agencies, universities, schools, police forces, etc, we can make a Freedom of Information request. It is high time to have a similar system to find out what companies are getting up to.

Public authorities are accountable to the public, so FOI is relevant. Private companies are accountable to their shareholders, so I do not see that the general public have any “right” to demand information from them, unless it is specific to a contract or purchase for example. They can request, of course. They are however accountable if legal matters are involved but it is then the legal authorities who can demand information, but not the general public. That’s how I see the situation. Extending FOI into private domains – large or small – may lead to individuals having to make disclosures under FOI requests. I would not like that.

Why should information held by companies be sacrosanct?

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Because some information will be commercially confidential – information that would be of great use to competitors. Perish the thought that competitors might use such a freedom to get this information.

The relevant authorities – say legal, health and safety, product safety and compliance and so on – should, and presumably do, have the right of access to necessary information and are there to act on our behalf. Just because individuals cannot use FOI on private companies does not mean they are immune from investigation.

Unfortunately, the public can be very unsuccessful in pursuing issues with companies in the way you suggest. Taking an example we have discussed at length, Trading Standards does not seem to take much action over problems raised by members of the public. Maybe there is a case for redaction of documents released to the public but I’m sure that a sensible compromise could be reached.

The current FOI system is overused. Information sought is often in the public domain, for example on websites. There are also people who feel strongly about an organisation and make vexatious requests. I understand that the government is looking at changing the system. The government is looking at revising the system, which makes considerable demands on organisations. My view is that the user should have to make a good case for their enquiry and explain what measures they have already taken to obtain the information they are seeking. I was not suggesting that companies should be allowed to be allowed to request confidential information about their competitors. They seem to be able to obtain this without help these days.

Which? is increasingly acting as a company and many of our questions go unanswered – even if the information could help us help them.

Thanks Duncan 🙂 I think I would rather be remembered for suggesting something we can all agree on.

Charities should, I think be (maybe they are) subject to FOI requests. We seem to agree 🙂 , as do some others, that we have concerns about the way Which? operates. For example these conversations ask questions of Which? from time to time that go unanswered. The Which Community forum (for Which? members) raises issues of concern that generally seem to be wafted away.

However, this is off-topic. I will be interested to see just how mpgs, CO2 and NOx are dealt with when the EC gets its act together and starts imposing the WLTP and RDE tests. I’d also like to see much more publicity given to online mpg sites so readers could find what they might really expect from their prospective vehicle in real life. The problem is, I suppose, that none of these sites are official but Which? could compile a list perhaps?

I agree that charities should be subject to FOI requests. I follow FOI requests made to a large charitable trust that has extensive commercial involvement as well as charitable activities. I’m no expert but understand that whether the release of information is in the public interest is a significant factor in deciding whether a response is made or refused (in which case the grounds are explained).

I take the remit of the Community Forum is as stated: Which? Member Community is where you can get answers to common membership queries from both our Member Services team and other members. And you can give us your feedback on a whole range of topics – anything from the magazine layout to what you think we should be testing next. I have seen brief feedback but no in-depth discussion involving Which? staff.

You say: “…. when the EC gets its act together and starts imposing the WLTP and RDE tests.” Where is the evidence that it is the EC that needs to get its act together? 🙁

” Where is the evidence that it is the EC that needs to get its act together? “. Well, the EC decides on the test specification and the EC is responsible for imposing it. They have had 20 years to revise, update, strengthen the NEDC test and have not done so. If they had got their act together much sooner we would be seeing published mpg and CO2 results that are nearer the truth. Remember that, as far as I know, the only results the manufacturers are allowed to publish are those derived from EC-controlled NEDC testing.

I would be happy if the EC pushed forward these changes, Malcolm. Is there evidence that they have been negligent or that the manufacturers have impeded progress?

Let’s face it, neither of us has sufficient knowledge to progress this discussion. 🙁

I’ve pointed to a lack of action for nearly 20 years from the body responsible for dealing with the testing regime wavechange. Not an auspicious performance for a topic that impinges on a large number of people, I would have thought. My opinion based in this knowledge.

However if someone can show that the EC has been totally competent in devising, updating and applying a test regime up until now, I will retract my criticism of them.

Back to the merits of a 3 or 6 bird roast perhaps 😀

If Which? magazine was a scientific review I would expect a balanced view with both sides being presented and appropriate papers cited as evidence. The magazine is intended for the general public and I’m not too concerned unless there is a deliberate attempt to falsify information. I sometimes feel that the magazine is rather biased towards the consumer, but that does not concern me.

Since neither of us knows why the NEDC test has not been updated for years then
perhaps it’s not appropriate to decide where the blame lies. In any case, the main value of the tests to the consumer is to help them choose which vehicle to buy.

Which? publications carry reports that are produced for its subscribing members, who presumably subscribe because they are particularly concerned to make informed decisions. It is not on general sale as a “magazine” for general interest. It is essential that in providing information it does so in a way that helps consumers, and does not mislead them, Withholding information or biasing reports is not ethical. Its subscribers should be treated as intelligent enough to digest facts and come to their own conclusions, whether about products, policies or whatever.

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Duncan – I’ve subscribed to Which? magazine for many years and don’t have a problem with the articles. I would love more detail on certain issues but accept that different people have different interests and the magazine is there to keep us informed of a wide range of issues. Which? magazine is best known for product testing but I’m very glad that it covers a much wider range of subjects. I keep hoping that Which? will broaden its remit and raise awareness of environmental issues. For example, a report on fridges and washing machines could mention the benefits of getting a product repaired and the environmental impact of disposing of the old one.

Malcolm – I said that Which? magazine was biased towards the consumer, and I expect every magazine produced by a consumer’s organisation will be the same. We have articles about consumers’ rights, but when was the last time we had one about what companies/organisation have to put up with from their customers, who lose their insurance documents, make fraudulent claims, are aggressive on the phone or unfairly berate them.

I do not approve of biased reporting. I would be very happy if the main articles included a reference list or just a bibliography, but that would probably put off the general public, who subscribe and read the magazine. Like many, I would like more details of subjects that interest me, but the same applies with other magazines I read.

Reuters (9 Dec) reported:
“Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) understated carbon dioxide emissions on many fewer vehicles than initially feared, it said on Wednesday, providing some relief to the automaker as it battles a wider diesel emissions scandal affecting up to 11 million cars.
Europe’s biggest motor manufacturer said its investigations found it had understated fuel consumption, and so carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, on only about 36,000 vehicles, compared with its preliminary estimate of around 800,000.
It also said it had found no evidence of unlawful changing of CO2 emissions data.
Chief Executive Matthias Mueller and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch will publish intermediate results from the inquiries at 1000 GMT (0500 EDT) on Thursday. They will not reveal names of those responsible, but may explain why the company failed to find the wrongdoing, two people familiar with the matter said.”

The uncertainties about emissions (which go beyond vehicles manufactured by the VW group) could have been avoided if testing of vehicles was done independently rather than letting the manufacturers test their own vehicles.

Can you imagine what would happen if shops relied on an honesty box for customers to pay for goods? There are honest customers and honest businesses, but it’s safer not to make assumptions. Hopefully the current emissions ‘scandal’ will highlight the need for independent testing.

The “cheat” device used by VW would, as far as I can see, have still worked whether their cars were tested by an independent lab or an in-house lab. Do we know what labs VW have used to test their cars and if they were independently witnessed? That might add some fact to this discussion.

“The uncertainties about emissions (which go beyond vehicles manufactured by the VW group)……. ” I don’t know of evidence of other cheating following the VW scandal. Could you enlarge on this?

There is certainly the risk that deliberate attempts to cheat can go undetected. Hopefully the forthcoming on-the-road tests will help flag up unusual behaviour of vehicles in future.

“The uncertainties about emissions (which go beyond vehicles manufactured by the VW group)……. ” I’m not accusing any company, but it looks as if diesel vehicles are emitting substantial amounts of nitrogen oxides when used on the road. With parts of Britain exceeding the permitted levels for at least five years, it’s important that we know the true emissions of new vehicles on sale.

It is widely acknowledged that the test that manufacturers have to perform on their vehicles – the NEDC – does not represent on-the-road performance. The RDE (Real Driving Emissions) test, devised by the EC and due to start being trialled in January 2016, is designed to see what cars emit under more realistic conditions.

We must be careful, I think, not to suggest manufacturers are all deceiving us (without evidence) when it seems that the major part of discrepancies is down the the EC imposing a totally out-dated test (apart from, so far, VW Group).

I am very disappointed that in Which?’s articles, campaigns and reports they continually point the finger at manufacturers, and tend to play down (or not mention) the major part played by the EC test. In my view this is misleading to readers who, unless they dig into the background and do their own research, will understandably take Which?s statements as being the whole story and maybe join the campaign accordingly. I have no brief for or against either the EC or car manufacturers. I just want the relevant fact made available in an objective, fair and balanced way. I believe Which? have, for whatever reason, failed in this regard and have made a complaint to them about this. 🙁

Is there any evidence that the motor manufacturers are pushing for implementation of the new tests? I don’t know of any, but at least there are indications of opposition to the changes.

I don’t know how many libel cases Which? has to defend in a year but their continued existence does suggest that they must be fairly careful about what they put in print. Consider the possibility that Which? has privileged access to information to support its position.

At least we should consider the possibility that manufacturers are cheating by modifying cars (taping up doors, over-inflating tyres, etc, etc) prior to testing to produce better test figures. We don’t know what individual manufacturers do to manipulate the tests and we are unlikely to find out. This is an example of where it would be useful and in the public interest to have the equivalent of a Freedom of Information request. The fact that we have had one major company admit to cheating suggests that others might not be beyond reproach.

It is up to the EC to impose the tests. It may be, if there is opposition, that there are genuine reasons. But this simply emphasises the need for facts, not conjecture.

“Privileged” information is unlikely, but would certainly be no excuse for not presenting a fair and balanced factual case.

As I have said elsewhere, the reports I have seen indicate that if manufacturer’s make use of a weakness in the EC test regime, it makes only a minority contribution to the test results. The EC should have at least sorted out the NEDC test specification to eliminate any such weaknesses. Why has it not in the 20 years it has been in existence? BEUC have asked the incoming Dutch EU president to press for the new tests to be implemented. But why has it taken so long to recognise this?

““Privileged” information is unlikely, …” Have you evidence of this?

“The EC should have at least sorted out the NEDC test specification to eliminate any such weaknesses. ” Modifying a vehicle to achieve improved figures is a deliberate act to obtain a competitive advantage, otherwise known as cheating. If all manufacturers are told that they can tape up the doors, over-inflate the tyres, etc. then it is not cheating. Is there any evidence that such a document exists? Why refer to cheating as a weakness? A weakness in a protocol could be failure to specify the ambient temperature used for the test or the specification of the fuel but certainly not a deliberate modification to achieve better results.

When a test specification does not specify test conditions in detail – the state of the battery,whether aircon is used, or whatever – is a deficiency in the test, long known about but never seemingly acted upon by those responsible for constructing the test specification. The initial responsibility rests with them (the EC). However the evidence I have seen is that these variations in test conditions do not lead to a major impact on the test results. I understand, because manufacturers aim to make profits, that they are open to accusations. But let’s see accusations backed up with fact. I would be among the first to condemn manufacturers for misconduct, as I was with VW.

I am not sure we will see facts. It took five or six years for the VW software cheat to come to light.

On another matter, can you please provide a link to details of the RDE test and the stages of implementation. I cannot find this in my reading list or bookmarks.

I hope you’ll find this link helpful, wavechange.
As it’s the weekend, to avoid delay I’ve just given the main bit.

Thanks Malcolm. I see it has specific mention of cheating, presumably inspired by the revelation of what the VW Group had been getting up to.

I would like to see a requirement for vehicles to be tested in unmodified form unless specified otherwise. In case of doubt the EC should be consulted.

This was a press release from the EC prompted by the VW scandal.

I agree that cars should be tested “unmodified”. However, that needs to be clearly and practically defined – and whether, for example, you have a low-charge battery, use the air con, determine how much load the car carries (presumably depending upon the size of car), what grade of fuel, what tyres, and so on. Otherwise you will not be comparing like with like, which is what a standard test needs to do.

I would ideally like to see a standard on-the-road test but see trying to specify this as very difficult. Getting identical terrain, road surface, identical speed regimes, air temperature, consistent driving in traffic – all very difficult if not impossible to do. So once sufficient numbers are with owners a central collection point for drivers mpg reports should yield averages that will be helpful. But who should collect the data? Ideally an EC organisation to run in parallel with their RED and WLTP data.

Testing cars under standard conditions is the only sensible thing to do, which is why I have made numerous comments about this in other Conversations. The European consumers’ organisation BEUC has referred to the practice of modifying cars to produce better test figures, so I presume they have evidence. Innocent until proved guilty, but I would have been impressed if the car makers had responded by saying that they don’t cheat.

As you have pointed out, the only fuel consumption figures that the manufacturers can provide are the official ones based on NEDC testing. That does not stop them saying that most motorists will achieve fuel economy that falls well short of the official figures.. It concerns you that Which? reporting may be biased, but is it not time that manufacturers and retailers presented honest and unbiased information?

Which? should occupy and position above manufacturers and retailers. The latter are going to market their products based on their positive attributes; you cannot expect them to publicise their negative attributes. Which?, on the other hand, should do both and present the whole story.

I would like to see Which? push the manufacturers and retailers to justify their claims.
– Challenge claims that cars are environmentally friendly as is claimed, or that replacing a fridge with a newer one will actually save money other than in the long term
– Challenge companies to support claims of high quality to support this with a decent guarantee.

We are getting well off-topic. 🙁

Wavechange said “Duncan – I’ve subscribed to Which? magazine for many years and don’t have a problem with the articles.”

There are issues with them, however, but resolving them might take time. Most revolve around the writing styles.

When writing comparative test reports in prose there’s always a choice to be made between describing similar items in the same ways or altering the descriptions to make them more readable and less boring. Which? have for some time been choosing the latter method, but when you’re attempting to compare the various facets of a TV, for instance, with another TV or TVs, then maintaining a sort of prose template really become necessary. I’ve lost count of the times when I’ve ended up shouting at the magazine because it doesn’t spell out the detailed characteristics of differing models clearly. In the end, I always have to identify the rough group to which a particular product belongs, then research it in other ways.

They can also be inconsistent. In one interesting case they refused the Apple store a Which? logo on the grounds of the cost of Apple equipment, yet in other areas they happily promote kitchen equipment that’s often frighteningly priced.

The new car survey is now available to be competed online, yet when I tried it didn’t recognise one of our cars. It’s a Toyota Hybrid, and quite possible the best car we’ve ever had. Yet Which’s survey argues it might be ‘non mainstream’. Toyota?

I agree, Ian. There are plenty of discrepancies. Like you, I use the magazine as one source of information. I would add that I’m not happy about Which? awards when a same brand can feature as a ‘Best Buy’ and a ‘Don’t Buy’ in the same product category.

VW is working on a fix and will no doubt make assurances to customers that when they fix vehicles there will be no adverse affects on engine life and fuel consumption. Can I trust VW?

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The news service cited industry and government sources saying Hyundai Motor Group recalled around 540,000 out of the 870,000 cars it promised to pull off the roads in 2011.
That year, the South Korean government uncovered excessive nitrogen oxide emissions on certain Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors cars with a running air conditioning system.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/science/20151210/1031510133/hyundai-cars-emissions.html#ixzz3vYBKHlXT

If its only when aircon on it might be over the Korean limit but I’ll bet it’s not on a par with VW

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Oh I’ve been aware of problems for many years although I maybe dont perhaps lean same the direction you do. I’m beginning to think I lean in some different direction to most.
That does not mean that I wont agree with you on much of you what you post because I do agree with much.
There are others who are tooooo far one way or tuther for me
I cannot accept the status quo and this VW scandal is no exception.
At the level of fraud involved I am taken aback with just about every announcement involving this latest letter.
No announcement addresses the problem as in properly addressed.
Its a “keep the children quiet a little longer” corporate method and many of us have become too accustomed to it and all too easily led.
Are we to believe that this is the only method because that is all either Gov or Business seems to offer us. We seem to accept burying our heads in the sand, do we not?
Today we have not got a country, we have Europe’s biggest swimming pool and Mr and Mrs Gov will not stop this austerity whatsit or should that be b******* blinkered road they are on.
Like the diesel pollution forecasts many, many experts forecast the UKs climate to get much much wetter but what had Gov done. Nothing. Gov stopped sea defences despite houses falling into the sea. But they are but a few voters only.
No low laying flood defences were shored up in preparation for the extra rain over the last decades and Gov paid for this research but as usual did not act on it.
We need to help the climate but what does our Gov do, cut down on cleaner energy and allow power grid diesel generator backup. This is beyond any human logic.
Diesel is at the heart of this problem and yes the diesels may have their place for a time yet but why encourage additional diesel generation use plus not make any attempt to clean this mess up with immediate effect. Why because Buss and Gov are all in it for themselves
We are not given any proper alternative and they know that.
No one is going to vote for a minority party that they know will never get a seat even if that minority party has all the right answers
Like Gov we dont want to chance but change is about to be forced upon us it seems or at least it looks that way on the news winter on winter. I own land and I have never and I mean never seen it so wet.
Oil price falls and Gov jumps back on fossil energy again not only because its cheap but because they will be being lobbied about job losses.
To date I have read of a larger amount of job threats in the renewable sector within the UK than the oil sector within the UK and it should only be the UK our Gov are interested in but it often is taking others by the hand instead
The renewable energy sector dont have the lobby power big oil does just as they dont have a Ms Merkel dropping in to make sure her beloved will not be in the UK courts in 2016 or 17.
The latest VW letters to owners are yet another example of how to lead the populus along.
This is not a fix and I doubt ever will be.
Yes the cars may be cleaner afterwards if that’s the right word for any diesel but despite the amount of times I have written what this equipment does and how it does it and what the results/benefits where for VW to not use/cheat there are still those who I would consider to be waffling about a hope of the fix not affecting the vehicle’s in any way.
Of course the vehicle will be affected
VW defeated the anti NOX devices on their cars deliberately.
They had reason to do this.
If they could have had the same results from a software adjustment they would not have committed the fraud in the first place.
They have not introduced a single technological change with the fix. No hardware change = no change.
Everything cannot be altered by software.
Software cannot alter an EGR it can only alter the use of the valve. The word use in VW case is very to the point
Software cannot alter a DPF
Software cannot alter engine size
Software will not provide the answer but many are so bamboozled by everything computer these days that many think there is an answer in there when all the computer is doing is operating and engine.
It is the engine that is the problem.
You can adjust. You can add to but you will never make dirty clean just the same as it is too difficult to clean up a coal fired power station
The reason to cheat was to VWs advantage only as in an unfair advantage above their other peers/competitors.
And there have been many here and else where making their best efforts to tar the entire industry with the same brush but although others, many others are being found to be below test standard it is the test regime is being found at fault and the other manufacturers have not had a product wide cheat installed for at least 10 year since.
Trying to tar everyone with the same brush is not fair and is but another tactic to cover up the fraud.
VW committed fraud and VW should be made to pay for the fraud but I doubt that because if VW were to make good their scandal VW would be closing the doors before the end of the week.
That will not happen. We will pay the price not VW just the same as we paid the price for the bundle of i****s we call bankers but not a one was prosecuted, no one.
If and many of us know there was an advantage for VW to cheat there will be a disadvantage to the fix. No odd’s what the fix will be. The disadvantage is to the customer because it is they alone who own and drive the things, not VW.
VW have not found additional or different equipment to enable their software fix to be of any benefit unless in the short term.
VW NOX reduction equipment has never been tried/tested extensively as we know.
Their engineers certainly did not test it as in ongoing testing because for many years many of the engineers did not even know the equipment they were testing did not work for the most of the time so how can they know it’ll last the distance.
Given that we know that they have been at this since 2005 and I believe for long before 2005 VW have in fact had no opportunity like their peers to live with the equipment in continues use.
This is a loss adjustment exercise by a corporation yet again and once we the populus have paid the price some of us as owners but all of us having lungs,
VW will still stand and beat their chest like king of the jungle again.
And again
The reason for the defeat of the NOX reduction equipment that was already fitted by VW and was the same or similar to most other manufacturers diesel vehicles was to improve mpg and bhp both of which are directly affected by this equipment.
This is very obvious and I have explained several times the how’s and why’s
Also the defeat helped to extend the service intervals which on diesels are already being stretched I feel too far but I’ll bet the fix does at present not involve suggesting shortened service intervals
The vehicle owners will be paying the price for this for several years to come and I am confident that my mates will be telling me that their suspicions a few years ago were correct and that VW have became as bad as the rest.
I am aware that the loyal VW brigade will come on here and many places and tell us that the fix is good and they notice no difference and VW have told them that there will be no change to their cars but take my word that will not last long.
If anyone comes on here and try’s telling me that they believe a single word VW tells them I’ll be tempted to believe they they have been completely brain washed or they have no experience of another brand in the last few years.
If others and myself are correct we’ll be seeing the results in 6 to 12 months.

And before a load of “improve testing, lobby the Gov” etc arrive for the umpteenth time as if that will fix the situation I consider such to be a waste of time and no worth diddly.
Those are both closing the door after the horse has been and gone.
There is far too much waiting on Gov and blaming Gov in this place anyhow.
Vote with your feet
I cannot be bothered with do gooder wait and see theories.
I cannot be bothered with those who are standing like a well trodden matt expecting miracles from another 21st century corporation because I cannot remember the last time one of these actually behaved in a civil and human manner.
We have several other topics that are clearly along the lines of product quality issues so this one VW one not unique but it is the largest corporate fraud I know of and on a scale way beyond the methods of dealing with it or proposed punishment
Put it this way if it were you or I and we had done something that damaged one childs lungs then the result would be that our insurance would be liable for the damages and if like VW we had been foolish enough to think we were big enough to not not require outside insurance then the business would be taken from us and the assets would be used as compensation for the damages
Hell, if someone comes on farm land and rip’s their whatsits on a barbed wire fence its the farmers problem. There’s no logic in that. The farmer did not ask the idiot to be there in the first place
How then in any logical system can VW get away with what they have done but get away with it they will
So for me.
VW customers have been ripped off whether everyone wants to believe that to is all to obvious to many.
There will be those and have been who will come on here and say that “no one bought a VW with clean in mind”
If that be the case then VW drivers are a very selfish bunch but I dont think all VW drivers did not care about health because VW made available and people bought their cleaner lines at a premium for what they received.
Happ New Year

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This convo seems to have gone well off-topic again. Why don’t Which? devote a convo to “Where is the best place in the world to live – and why”. See if we can’t give somewhere a best buy status? 🙂

There are two sources of pollution from cars – the engine output and the number of miles driven. If “individuals” ( you, me and other drivers) were really that concerned about pollution, as well as buying more economical small-engined cars we would drive substantially fewer miles, and try to avoid using cars in towns and cities.

Each of us is responsible for our own contribution to pollution. Is there any sign we take any significant individual actions?

The news service cited industry and government sources saying Hyundai Motor Group recalled around 540,000 out of the 870,000 cars it promised to pull off the roads in 2011.
That year, the South Korean government uncovered excessive nitrogen oxide emissions on certain Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors cars with a running air conditioning

If its only when aircon on I’ll bet its not on a par with VW

I didnt go off topic, did I???

I may have uttered a complete anti VW anti Diesel long winded post but off topic sorry, Not I

As to using smaller cars???
Wifey drives a 2005 Panda Multijet, yes diesel, to work every day and loves it.
I personally am left with an elderly 1999 Seicento Abarth and that has the rear seats stay down near all the time so its mostly a little van and as I have stated before I have been doing the majority of my miles in one of these for the past 12 years. Like it’s red coloured predecessor it seems to not want to leave me. I have not had one with a hole or sign of rust.
All were cast off’s of these woman around me.
Neither are ideal show pieces but neither are we but we are both as good looking or better than most classy car drivers come to think of it because they usually roll out of their expensive cars. Now hows that for saying the way it is.
Most folk would not be seen dead in either of our cars and many a joke has been made at their expense and sometimes a little more personally directed but over the years no, and mean no, other cars anywhere I worked were as reliable no odds what age or miles was on them and the red Fiat left me at 260,000 miles for my bosses son to learn to drive or rather rally around the factory after hours for a further 3 years.
I’ve seen much younger Merc’s and BMWs etc with the wheel rims all blistered and wheel arches bubbling.

We have a 2010 1.6 petrol Suzuki with 28k on it that I bought in a moment of weakness and that is never below 40mpg even with a small caravan and that is only used every few weeks for trailer work as and when required. That car will still be like new in 20 years time if we hold onto it. I’d guess its doing about 5k per year here.

As to city driving I’d suggest that there is an awful lot more fuel used and pollution caused up and down the motorways of the UK much of which is just as uncalled for as any city mileage and pollution is not just a city thing but is a global thing so those who keep repeating that city air is in some way more important than air in general are a little selfish.

Did I make any snide comments about our dear UK?? No I did not
No, we do not need a topic on where the best place is to live with a slant like I didnt like the UK in y writings.

I live in it. I love it but I’m entitled to think it needs a few changes because all this consumerism is obviously not working seeing as we have been on this band wagon of selling off the estate and spending the money since Maggie was in No10 and all we get is told that we are in too much debt.
I’d be of the opinion that if we personally are in debt we need to stop spending and consuming not go spending more.
I’m not wealthy but I know how to hold a few bob together.
A country is just a large business/household and we cannot get away with telling our partners financial porkies in the same way as this lot get away with it.
I am happy, more than happy as a citizen of the UK otherwise and believe me I would have the means and wherewithal at my disposal like most to go live in sunny Spain or more likely upland Portugal but to date I have stayed here
I may have worked abroad many years ago but I always return and why because I like this green and fair land.

However it looks like I may have caused a little offence but the criticism of our politicians and Government but it was meant as constructive criticism not that they’ll pay much attention.
Maybe some day we’ll have sense and sack the lot and bring in some school leavers because they might do, nay probably do a better job.
They might even remember how to count unlike our chancellor who was on top of the world in his autumn statement then to be so wrong only a lot of weeks later.
He’s the guy getting several 100k per year from one source and another and I can count better despite his very nice education and I dont even have a load of civil servants at my beck and call.
Just thinking, I think I would only use comprehensive school leavers because that’s what was forced upon us mere mortals unlike near all the politicians from both the main parties who many of have been very privileged.

So guys lets agree to disagree and just because I dont share some political opinions does not mean that I dont get a go at voicing my opinions and my complaints about politics alongside the VW thing I consider to be directly related to the whole scandal.
I mean Ms Merkel done a whirlwind tour of Europe to gets things nicely settled for her Car brand and I’ll be hard to convince otherwise.
There is little doubt that this is more than a business problem but is a politically problem as much as business
My opinions on VW and cars come from many years of experience.
The whole stinks to the high heavens.
My political views are similarly acquired over many years and I cannot stop remembering that most if not all PMs have been caught out telling lies on many occasions and many of the lies caused much distress and worse

DK, my comment was to Duncan’s post, not yours. Neither caused any offence, I was simply suggesting that as this is a convo about VW and pollution and cheating, general long political views might be more appropriate in a conversation devoted to that kind of topic, rather than a motoring convo. Just my opinion.

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Todays up-date on VW. I do realise that the problems that VW has in California are not the same as those in the EU.
“January 12, 2016 19:34 CET
DETROIT (Reuters) — The California Air Resources Board said it rejected Volkswagen AG’s plan to fix 2.0-liter diesel cars with software that allow them to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution.
VW’s proposed fix was not adequate or fast enough, it said in a statement. The board said that it would continue its investigation as well as talks with VW to find a fix. CARB did not assess any immediate penalties, but it issued a new notice that VW had violated California air quality regulations.”

The gas emissions that offend the US are also the one that London has already breached eight days into the New Year. Yes the ANNUAL EU limit for nitrogen dioxide has been passed at locations in our capital.

” New figures show London has exceeded its air pollution limits for the entire year – in just eight days, according to a monitoring and research group. European air-quality rules say levels of hourly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are not to breach the maximum limit for more than 18 hours per year.

However Putney High Street became the first place in London to reach its 19th hour of exceeding the limit during Friday morning’s rush hour, according to the King’s College organization London Air Quality Network.
In 2015, Oxford Street breached its limits for the year in just two days. It would most likely have been first to break the legal objectives for this year too, if the monitoring equipment wasn’t currently being repaired.

High levels of the toxic gas are emitted from diesel exhaust fumes, a recent study found that exposure to the fumes can significantly impact people with asthma. Researchers at Imperial College London found that both during and after a two hour walk along Oxford Street, volunteers experience increased asthmatic symptoms like reduced lung capacity and inflammation in the lungs. After a few hours the symptoms did return to their normal levels, however these harmful gases are blamed for nearly 9,500 premature deaths in London annually. ”

Perhaps the EU better get its act together pronto irrespective of finalised rules. As for London take over some main routes for bicyclists and you will be amazed how many people learn to cycle — as in Holland, Denmark, and parts of China.

dieseltaylor, as I suggested above, reducing the NOx levels from individual vehicles will not significantly affect London pollution. A major reduction in vehicle numbers is the only solution, in my view.

From the age of 10 I have suffered from asthma and have avoided being in city centres for longer than necessary. I knew that sulphur dioxide was a problem because the smell is unmistakable. The introduction of low sulphur petrol and diesel has made it possible for me to spend time in cities, though I carry an inhaler if it is a longer visit.

Atmospheric pollution is harmful to everyone, and not just those with breathing difficulties. It’s well known that smog – a cocktail of pollutants – increases death rates. Though electric vehicles are not as green as is claimed, at least they don’t pump noxious gases into the atmosphere. I agree we should promote cycling.

Nevertheless, cyclists and pedestrians are more seriously affected by urban pollution than car and lorry drivers. Slowing down the traffic in towns increases the problem as slow moving traffic emits fumes for longer periods than faster moving traffic. Electric vehicles are obviously preferable, but then why the heck did we get rid of our electric trams and trolleybuses and replace them with what was seen at the time as smoky diesels?

Hi Diesel, Malcolm, Wave. Why is the VW problem not the same here as it is in the US appart from the emissions levels being different there in comparison to here??

Hi I have a 2012 1.6 tdi bluemotion golf , I recently had to replace a erg value, and it cost me £500 for pats and labour. Has this erg value failed because of the latest vow emissions scandal. By the way there is 49k mileage.

I doubt that EGR failure relates to the emissions issue. My understanding is that EGR valves commonly fail in diesel cars because they get blocked with soot. It’s a case of cleaning (time consuming) or replacing them. A friend has just replaced his Ford diesel car because he was having to have the EGR valve cleaned frequently, but it was an older model that had done a high mileage. I’m interested in these issues because I have the same car without the Bluemotion stop-start feature, and it’s done less than 30k miles.

As they say I must drive the car for 15 or 20 minutes at 70mph at least once in order to keep it clean is that right

John Houston says:
14 January 2016

I own a VW tiguan 2.0 diesel and have received a letter promising to re-programme the computer at some unspecified date.
they make no reference to the misrepresentation or loss of value that has resulted

Just published by Which? – which.co.uk/news/2016/01/car-emissions-is-nobody-clean-430938/

VW may be alone in having cheat software but other manufacturers make some dirty cars. Some petrol cars are producing too much carbon monoxide too.

It’s good to see that Which? is prepared to remove Best Buy awards where appropriate.

Thanks Lauren. From your link: “We need a stringent, independently audited test regime in the EU. It’s no coincidence that the VW scandal broke in the US, where such a test regime operates. ”

The sooner the better. Letting manufacturers test their own products is ridiculous.

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