/ Motoring

Major car makers respond to our Fuel Claims campaign

Car and magnifying glass

Alongside more than 55,000 supporters, we’ve been putting pressure on the car industry to tell us whether they manipulate fuel tests. 17 car makers have responded…

In the aftermath of the VW emissions scandal, we asked all the major car brands whether their vehicle testing methods were misleading consumers. That deadline has passed, and of the 17 who have responded, 16 have said they don’t manipulate emissions and fuel economy tests.

You can read all the car maker responses here, but if you want the gist of it, Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Nissan, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Volvo, Vauxhall, Honda, BMW, Ford, Toyota, Suzuki, Daimler (Mercedez-Benz) and Mitsubishi have all explicitly denied manipulating tests. Fiat Chrysler has responded but hasn’t confirmed or denied manipulating tests. And we’re still waiting on Subaru.

Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat owners

If you own one of the affected Volkwagen, Audi, Skoda or Seat brand cars (there are 1,189,906 in the UK), I have a few updates for you.

The German government gave VW a deadline of tonight to submit a plan on how it’ll ensure affected cars are compliant with the law. And today VW said that a recall should start from January 2016.

The Government has confirmed that affected motorists will not have to pay more car tax even though they may be producing more pollution. And if car owners don’t get their vehicles fixed it won’t be illegal and you won’t be fined but, according to the Department for Transport, ‘it is in their best interest’.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has also said the Government is ‘taking robust action’:

‘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 now want the Government to immediately publish a timetable for a genuinely independent investigation and ensure anyone who’s affected can get easy access to redress.

Fuel tests you can trust

There are still issues around the effectiveness of testing.

Currently cars are tested using the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which was first introduced in the 1970s. The test lacks real-world driving scenarios and there are numerous loopholes which make the miles per gallon figures unrealstic when you actually get behind the wheel of a car. You can read more about these loopholes here.

The European Commission is planning to implement the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) procedure, where new cars will have to be tested not only in the laboratory but also on the road. The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) will also bring a number of much-needed improvements. That’s why we want the European Commission to announce how it will bring forward these new tests by the end of the year.

When we asked, several car makers also stated their support for the introduction of new tests that reflect real-world driving conditions, including PSA Peugeot Citreon, Renault, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) and BMW.

Do you want to see these new more realistic tests brought forward? And what do you think about the car makers’ responses?


I am highly satisfied with my Skoda Yeti as it is although it has an engine which requires modification. I would much prefer to continue as is. Must I have the modification fitted.
I understand that to inhale as much Nox as one cigarette puts out I would need to be running the engine in a confined space for 3 hours.

Please think about those who have respiratory problems, Ghiarella. Thankfully, most adults can avoid smoke these days.

Ghiarella, keep contributing. We all get ticked off from time to time when we put a view forward that is controversial. That is what keeps conversations developing.

Malcolm – It has been announced that: “DVSA will regularly review the steps VW has taken to contact owners, and how many affected vehicles have been corrected.”

For me the problem is that we in the UK don’t measure Nox emissions from vehicles – only CO2 is measured in the MOT. So none of us actually know how much – or how little – is being produced by our cars. If all cars produced that kind of amount at all speeds that would be a fair point – but I ‘d like to know where you get your data from.

The MoT measures only smoke density for diesel engines – no CO2 or anything else.
For petrol engines it measures Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Hydrocarbons (HC) plus the Lambda value. The latter represents the ratio of the mass of air to mass of fuel being consumed and thus a measure of the richness, or leanness of the mixture. Lean mixtures burn hotter and produce more NOx. I don’t know whether the Lamda limits are related in any way to NOx limits as imposed.

NOx emissions are not published in advertising but recorded for type approvals following the NEDC test in Europe. Some organisations have measured “on the road” emissions including the EU with its RDE (Real Driving Emission) test due to be introduced in 2017. The difficulty with all “on the road”tests is making them suitable for comparing results done at different times in different places without taking an average of a large number of repeat tests. For example, atmospheric temperature, pressure and humidity, road surface roughness, driving style, topography, and so on are impossible to effectively standardise outside of the laboratory.

This makes it imperative that laboratory tests are properly constructed to minimise such effects, and tightly written to ensure that any factors that may otherwise affect results are properly specified to ensure consistency.

Wouldn’t do that, it would kill you quicker than smoking a cigarette!

The major issue is that governments everywhere lack foresight. To take an example, the benefits of HS2 are utterly unprovable until about two years after it’s been built. There could well be immense benefits, but it’s extraordinarily difficult to predict what these might be. Had the Scottish Government of the time not decided to build the Caledonian Canal the very large number of jobs in the tourist industry now reliant on that waterway would never have materialised. Yet that’s not why it was originally conceived.

I don’t know how we surmount this particular problem. But one thing is certain: it requires legislation, since no company in the world using the capitalist system will easily forgo the easy option to making money. In fact, this entire saga demonstrates that capitalism – as a socio-economic system – is probably not fit for purpose. If Capitalism was a product, you’d probably want your money back.

Ian to answer your question re the benefits of HS2, if you haven’t already done so, take a trip to Japan where the Shinkansen has been operational since 1964. It is environmentally clean, fast and efficient and has no doubt contributed to the success of their economy, until the global crash in 2007/8. You cannot help but be impressed.

Japan has tackled this in a sensible way. It has three services – limited stop (the fastest), semi-fast (more intermediate stops) and all stations. It also has greater distance that the HS2 – 320 miles. c/w 119m.
The use of HS rail in other countries like France and China are generally allied to long distances where aircraft would be the alternative. I don’t see London-Birmingam as a sensible aircraft journey.

Malcolm London to Birmingham is just the first phase. There are plans in the pipeline to extend to Scotland – North London to Edinborough a distance of about 400 miles, journey currently by rail takes 4 1/2 hrs will be reduced to 3 or less hrs. See http://www.gov.uk – Next phase of work for High Speed and Scotland. – 1st Nov 2013. This will cut down on the number of domestic flights and the environmental impact of air pollution created by planes. All this of course is dependent upon Scotland remaining as part of the UK.

London to Birmingham is just the first phase for HS2. There are plans in the pipeline to eventually extend it to Edinburgh, a distance of 400 miles from North London, a journey presently taking 4 1/2 hrs reducing it to 3 hrs or less, all of which of course is dependent upon Scotland staying as part of the UK. This would reduce the number of domestic flights thereby protecting the environment from further air pollution for future generations. .

After spending all this money on HS2, who is actually going to use it, me not a chance. First of all it will cost a fortune, secondly it does not go past my front door nor does it go to ware i want to go to. if i was to use it i would have to go in the car to the railway station, pay to park my car then catch the train, when i get to the other end i will have to get a taxi or a bus which is more expense, i might as well go the whole journey in my car.

George says:
10 October 2015

Japan’s Shinkansen covers a much greater distance between stops than would be the case in England, hence HS2 is hardly up to speed when it will have to slow again, the gains are just not worth the pain and cost. The time saved on HS2 between London & Birmingham will be minimal over present Virgin Trains. Far better to improve the present lines and stations.
*If you drive on many of England’s A roads you will know how they are in desperate need of major improvement, widening and straightening, this would achieve a much better result than spending on HS2 in many peoples opinion. The Westminster Village politicians have little idea of this, no commercial experience and don’t listen to us.

All the protagonists for HST forget ours is a small country where accelerating best part of 1000 tons of metal and flesh upto the speeds proposed is just inappropriate and obscenely fuel costly. All this is being proposed when we’re rapidly approaching an electrical energy crisis! In addition they conveniently remember the HS2 ingress and egress travel and waiting times when comparing with air travel but not when comparing with road travel!
It’s a jolly for the wealthy which they want all taxpayers to pay for! For mass transit it would be more appropriate to promote bus trains as used elsewhere, more fuel efficient.
The primary pro for HS2 is that it will provide better opportunities to maintain the existing network which, in parts, is on its knees!

I’d like to know if VW is their many guises will be reimbursing all customers for their out of pocket costs taking their cars to the recall, I live 40 miles from my nearest Audi garage why should I pay to take my car to be fixed because VW cheated & got caught? This is likely to take half a day which will mean half a day off work at least.

At least Audi ply us with unlimited beverages when we take our car in for a service. Perhaps VW will add a couple of cookies.

The only cookies you are likely to get are the ones on their website. 🙂

Mike, if the Consumer Rights Act continues the provisions in the Sale of Goods Act then the following might apply:
“Any refund, repair or replacement you arrange with your customer relating to faulty goods must not cause them too much inconvenience and you will have to pay for other costs, for example, collection or delivery.”
You might miss out on the free coffee though.

It would be very interesting to know about the legal protection of consumers. I presume that a vehicle that fails to meet the emissions standard would be ‘not as described’ and therefore qualifies for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. Perhaps Which? will give us clear guidance.

Although pollution is bad in towns and cities because of confined space it is still a problem in open country. I well remember driving up the M6 on a summer’s day with traffic moving quickly. But there was a tunnel of grey haze surrounding the motorway from vehicle emissions, and we were all having the breathe it in for a couple of hours.

Only Volvo said they have never cheated in the past. None of the others say that; instead they only use the present tense in their statements. Maybe they have used the last few weeks to switch over their production lines. Maybe we will never know.

In answer to your question ! Yes, bring the more realistic tests forward. Why ? Because we all want to breathe cleaner air if at all possible – I am astonished that a reputable manufacturer does not understand that, or thinks they can wantonly deceive the customer, their children and grandchildren for the sake of some extra euros !
Mrs Merkel is standing up for VW, not least because of the effect on the German economy if they collapse. Perhaps the UK government could take the higher ground and represent customers in the cause of health, fairness and integrity – or is that just old hat now ?

The Government has confirmed that affected motorists will not have to pay more car tax even though they may be producing more pollution. And if car owners don’t get their vehicles fixed it won’t be illegal and you won’t be fined but, according to the Department for Transport, ‘it is in their best interest’.

Surely, if you take out the cheat software, the emissions will be higher under test conditions. This was what the cheat software was installed for, to fool the testing equipment into believing that the emissions were lower, thus passing the emissions test. With the software removed, the emissions will be a lot higher, this will mean that when you take your car for its yearly MOT, it will fail the emissions test, which will result in a MOT failure, meaning the car will be illegal to drive.

A diesel MoT “pollution” test only checks exhaust smoke density; it does not analyse the gases. So it should not affect pass or failure or legality to drive.

As Malcolm says, the MOT test measures smoke and not nitrogen oxides. See page 7 of this document: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/346222/emissions_17th_edition.pdf This is not the latest version but I don’t believe that smoke testing has changed.

It is up to manufacturers to meet nitrogen oxide emissions. The European standard is not as strict as in the US and it might be possible to genuinely meet European standards by modifying the ECU – the computer that controls the engine.

In the past, the press has generally avoided the words ‘cheat’ and ‘cheating’ in the context of modifying cars prior to carrying out fuel economy and emissions tests. Instead we see euphemisms for cheating such as ‘exploiting loopholes’, when it is obvious that the companies are cheating by modifying vehicles to gain a competitive advantage.

Here is an article giving brief details: telegraph.co.uk/cars/columnists/steve-huntingford/volkswagen-emissions-scandal-the-authorities-have-encouraged-cheating/

The article has an amusing heading: The nine ways car manufacturers can legally cheat Legally cheat – what a delightful oxymoron. 🙂

Of course the authorities are blamed, but any reputable manufacturer would have tests carried out on unmodified vehicles. If the VW software ‘discrepancy’ results in an investigation of cheating in entire the motor industry, I will be very grateful.

I suppose cheating can be illegitimate but somehow remain within the bounds of the law.

Volkswagen have whole page newspaper adverts bleating about the breakdown of trust and saying how they will try to restore it. Although as contrite as ad-speak gets, it falls short of an open acknowledgment of wrong-doing – more like disappointment at being found out. My parsnips remain unbuttered.

Yes John that’s all my ears hear. They are disappointed that they got caught.
The problem is that they have some customers who are also disappointed VW caught caught also but not because VW done wrong but because their cars may now not have a good MPG. I hate to say it but there are some VW owners just as bad as VW themselves. I Like my car. My car is fine the way it is. I have had a load of VWs they have all been good to me. and so on.
I dont now who or where on here but someone ticked someone off for the above thoughts as they or someone close has a bad chest and having to breath this stuff.
People who are so single minded that no one else matters should be given the cold shoulder.

DeeKay, I replied to Ghiarella that they should continue contributing even though someone disagreed with their comment in a way I thought slightly inappropriate. I do not hold the same view as Ghiarella but there are many controversial views (some more than others) on this convo, there are some who avoid some facts, but these are all contributors who enlarge the conversation and keep it going.

I didn’t want to see a contributor who may be new put off contributing by being slightly put down.

Are we sure that it is ‘only’ pedestrians who are inhaling the emissions? Leaving aside the fact that most drivers also walk sometimes, when the car’s heating is on, doesn’t it draw warm air from the engine? If so it seems reasonable to assume the lungs of drivers are also being compromised. Not trying to make a moral point, just a technical one!

G, i think it is safe to assume everyone will inhale emissions. CO, CO2, NOx will not, I imagine, be reduced by any of the cars filters; particulates will probably be caught unless you have the window open.

Pedestrians and cyclists will suffer but also those in surrounding premises where the air will inevitably draw in pollution from the street.

Here is a similar experiment: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2014/aug/12/london-air-pollution-public-transport-video

I’m not sure what is being measured as pollution.

John – When I discovered that I own an affected car the automated response referred to something like ‘discrepancies’. The VW site has what may be the nearest we will get to a public admission of guilt:

“We have broken the most important part in our vehicles: your trust.
Now, our number one priority is winning back that trust.

We know that actions speak louder than words. So we will directly
contact every customer affected and resolve the issue for them.

If you have a 1.2, 1.6 or 2.0 litre diesel Volkswagen or
Volkswagen commercial vehicle, it may need attention.

If you have an EU6 diesel engine, V6 TDI or V8 TDI,
or any petrol engine, you are not affected.

In the meantime please rest assured that all our vehicles are safe and
roadworthy and that we’ll continue to do everything we can to win back your trust.

Please note: we can only give information about Volkswagen Passenger Cars
and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (worldwide except for the USA and Canada).
For other Volkswagen Group brands, please visit the relevant brand websites;
Audi, SEAT, or Skoda.”

That does not impress me and I cannot even find this on the Audi, SEAT and Skoda websites.

That seems to be the same text as in today’s newspaper advertisements. That nice little word “issue” makes a reappearance, its previous outing being when one of the banks had to deal with a major IT outage. On that occasion the euphemism represented a temporary technical failure; this time it represents a deliberate and corporate act of mechanical adulteration with intent to defeat official emissions tests. Some issue!

“It may need attention” is also another attempt to down-play the seriousness of this.

Will Volkswagen ever come clean?

The press will do anything to spice up a story or a headline. Much better when we can demonise someone or something.

Cheating in this context would be not following the written standards requirements, however badly written, to get a better result. Unless we have proof that car manufacturers have done so we can have a discussion about semantics: cheat: to act dishonestly. If they have, they should be prosecuted. No sign of this yet except in isolated cases.

This diverts from the central issue which is how to get more realistic results; the WLTP and RDE appear destined to do that. So lets push for these to be properly written and introduced as soon as possible. We’ll then begin to see results.

“Of course the authorities (EC) are blamed…..” because they are largely responsible as has been said earlier.

If there is a document that says that manufacturers can tape up the doors, change the lubricant, disconnect the alternator, etc., then it’s not cheating, but I’m not aware that this exists. The VW software effectively modifies the car prior to testing, just like the other cheats, but rather than removing the tape from the doors and reconnecting the alternator, the manufacturer has left evidence of its actions. A bit like taking notes into an exam and then forgetting that you hid them in your exam script during the exam before it is collected.

Of course we need the new tests introduced as soon as possible but I won’t trust them until we have proper independent testing.

In London,half the damaging pollution comes from motor vehicles. NOx and particulate matter breach EU limits in many places.

In 2020 the present Congestion Charge Zone will become an Ultra Low Emissions Zone, ostensibly limiting vehicles that can enter; for diesel cars they will have to have Euro 6 engines, and for petrol, Euro 4. It does not, however, discriminate between small and large engines – the latter with higher actual emissions of course.

Also, you can still drive in the ULEZ with a “dirty” vehicle – one that does not meet the latest emissions standards – if you pay £12.50; that may well be attractive, certainly for more than one person in a car, as opposed to parking and public transport charges. So it seems if you are prepared to pay, you can pollute. A bit like carrier bags. An opportunity missed?

I totally agree that we should not be able to pay to pollute.

The diagrams in this document gives a breakdown of the sources of nitrogen dioxide and particulates (PM10) in London: cleanerairforlondon.org.uk/londons-air/air-pollution-london

Is it just me, or is it becoming impossible to find anything in this Conversation now? The pages seem to be taking forever to load and searching for a new comment in the middle of the column has become very difficult. Perhaps the time has come to give each comment a number.

Comment numbers were suggested prior to the publication of this site, and I agree they would be very helpful. They are commonly used on forums. On the old site it was possible to put in a link to an individual comment, though I cannot recall that anyone made use of this feature.

If clicking on a post in ‘Recent comments’ does not take you to the post, just search for a sequence of words from the Recent comments. I often do this anyway if I remember that a post contains an unusual word or distinctive phrase.

Yes, I have been trying that but it seems to be hit and miss whether you whizz straight to the post or end up at the top or the bottom of the Conversation. It’s strange, and surely just a coincidence, that since I posted my comment above it has been behaving itself again and going direct to the post. I think it’s a traffic versus capacity thing [or issue, even].

When I remember to press the radio button for a particular conversation I get emailed with latest contributions. But no name on the contribution, and the link only takes me to the introduction. As comments may be replies that appear anywhere I have to use “find” on Google, or just scroll, to see it.

A comment number will only work if they go in sequence. More difficult with replies, and replies to replies….unless you have a hierachy like 6., 6.1, 6.1.1.

Back to topic. According to today’s Daily Telegraph, they report the RAC foundation tells that “only 2% of car buyers list a car’s potential impact on the environment as the main reason for their purchase. Only 7% put it among their 4 greatest concerns”.

I am not at all surprised by the RAC’s findings. I think some of the outrage at VW’s behaviour has a touch of hypocrisy about it.

Motor car adverts only refer to the emissions [if at all] in minute and illegible text, aiming directly at what they know buyers want – styling, colours, comfort, and lifestyle aspirations. Having said that, there is an amusing TV commercial for a car [but I can’t recall which make] that goes a long way on a full tank so the kid never gets his ice cream. But even that’s an appeal to economy rather than concern the environment.

You may also be interested in the NZ stats Malcome @
motorweb.co.nz – Car drivers don’t care about emissions.

It appears safety takes priority over everything else and emissions are bottom at only 1%.

I think what we like other people to think and what we actually do can be very different Beryl. I see only legislation will persuade people to think responsibly.

It would appear that VW have miss sold cars, what we bought was not what they advertised it as. Therefore under the sale of goods act are we not entitled to return the car for a full refund?

Nicky says:
11 October 2015

Absolutely. I specifically bought my car (Skoda Fabia green line) because of its supposed low emissions and fuel economy and feel very strongly that the car I have is not the car I thought I was buying.

I guess it will depend upon whether the “cheat device” was used in testing to get the EU figures, and whether it altered the mpg and CO2. NOx is not an advertised figure so would not, in my view, be a basis for a personal claim.

Do you know if your engine is one of those affected?

Bear in mind the published figures will not reflect “real life” as they should state, just what the (totally inadequate) NEDC test producer. However Skoda’s generally are 91% of the “official” (artificial if you like) figures – above the industry average of 86%.

Many years ago before this all blew up in VW’s face, there were certain hybrids whose software was “upgraded” with the intention of either prolonging the hybrid battery life or, as the cynics among us felt was more accurate, allowing more faulty cells to exist before the hybrid battery was identified as faulty. These mods always clobbered fuel consumption.

Hmm. It’s always concerned me that our Toyota Hybrid is clearly extremely software-dependent.

More about nitrogen oxide emissions as a general problem for car manufacturers: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/09/mercedes-honda-mazda-mitsubishi-diesel-emissions-row

No revelation by the Guardian here. I mentioned earlier about well-known discrepancies between “real life” NOX and what is measured in the NEDC test. The only scandals at present rest with VW for cheating in the US and the EU governments for not addressing a proper test.

What would be interesting to learn is exactly what modern engine technology can realistically provide by way of CO2 and NOx when used in real life. We could then ensure that achievable limits were set. We may all have to pay a price (financial probably) if we want limits reduced. No good burying our heads in the sand.

I still consider that, unpalatable as it may be, restricting traffic volume and type particularly in towns will be far more effective in reducing pollution. The present method of limiting NOx output but not limiting the number of emitters, and of allowing you to buy your way into a city with a more heavily polluting vehicle, seems a nonsense in combatting such a health problem.

I believe that it is important to raise awareness that nitrogen oxide pollution is a serious issue and not just confined cars made by the VW Group.

Here is another article that points to some general problems concerning the Vehicle Certification Agency: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/11925283/Exclusive-Emissions-tester-paid-80m-by-car-firms.html

The VCA is a government agency that provides the independent oversight of vehicle testing, and subsequent type certification, anywhere in the world at any approved test laboratory. In the UK if required to also provide instrumentation and test facilities it uses those at MIRA.

Much of its income is derived from charging manufacturers for its services. Quite how Greenpeace and the Transport and Environment campaign group (no axes there to grind then) then go on to suggest, as reported on the Telegraph, that they favour the manufacturers (my words) seems a bit of a leap. How should VCA operate – do this work for nothing at the taxpayers’ expense ?

Unless this sort of gossip is supported by fact we should treat it as just that. If someone comes up with evidence that the VCA has connived with a manufacturer to produce false data that gave an unwarranted certification then I’d be among the first to see those responsible prosecuted.

We should be very wary of unsupported allegations distorting the facts and diverting out attention from what currently needs to be done.

I often post links to newspaper articles to try to encourage more people to get involved in discussions. I’m not sure whether your criticism applies to the author of the article, the newspaper, me – or all three. 🙁

I’m just suggesting we don’t automatically take newspaper articles as fact, so it was not a criticism – it is what newspapers and campaign groups do to gain publicity. Which? also does it and I have complained about that in the past.

We need to substantiate allegations otherwise we can be diverted from the real objectives – just as company marketing departments attempt to do.

Malcolm students at the University of West Virginia were carrying out data checks as a routine exercise with the aim of protecting the environment in mind, only to discover the data did not match up, which led them to report their findings to the EPA who revealed to the world we were being systematically intoxicated by lethal poisonous emissions by a German car manufacture for their own ends. My question is, why was this left to a bunch of students in an American university to uncover the truth about what certain car manufacturers are capable of in the name of profit and how can consumers be expected to regain the trust in VW and car manufacturers as a whole? The VCA have obviously sitting on their laurels and in light of the recent revelations, should be open to questioning as to why this deceit was allowed to continue for so long.

Beryl, were VCA involved in any of VW’s type testing? A vehicle certified in one European state is automatically accepted throughout the EU.
So I don’t know on what grounds the VCA should be accused.
As far as NOx is concerned it is well known that in real life many cars emit more NOx than the NEDC test measures; examples are a BMW at 2x the limit to Renault at 9-11x. There is no deception here; the EC has known that the NEDC test and real life can be a long way apart. Hence, as I mention elsewhere, the imminent introduction of a Real Driving Emission test to understand these differences and establish sensible not-to-exceed limits.

Malcolm – The VCA has the responsibilty for witnessing or carrying out the tests as well as issuing the approval certificates. The controversial defeat devices were able to detect the speed, engine operation, air pressure, position of the steering wheel , ABS in the laboratory. VW were obviously very aware of the content of their software enabling them to dupe the VCA who presumably are funded by the taxpayer, and not a bunch of unpaid university students.

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for the Department of Transport will be looking into the issue of comparisons between lab and real world testing and also obtaining access to vehicle manufacturers software I believe according to his comments at the recent Select Committee Meeting.

Beryl, the question I asked was had VCA any involvement with VW testing.

You are right about their role – I have extracted part of their job from the govt website elsewhwere – but they seemingly only witness manufacturers tests, or arrange them, if asked by the manufacturer. I do not know if the Government asks them, or if they have any responsibility to, undertake separate check testing independently of manufacturers. Maybe you do? Have they independently checked VW results in the past and verified them, or concealed them?

Malcolm you may find more definitive answers to your questions by logging on to
dft.gov.uk/vca/ which explains their official duties and responsibilities more fully.

Beryl, before I posted I did delve into the VCA website.
An extract says:
“Automotive EC Directives and UN Regulations require third party approval – testing, certification and production conformity assessment by an independent body. Each Member State is required to appoint an Approval Authority to issue the approvals and a Technical Service to carry out the testing to the Directives and Regulations. An approval issued by one Authority will be accepted in all the Member States.”

The latter sentence is important. As far as I am aware the VCA does not have a role to test or oversee every car approval test. It simply does so if invited to act as either the independent overseer and, if required, the test organiser. (if you look at the website under “type approval for cars” you will see a Customer Application Form pdf that is informative on what VCA offers in this respect).

Otherwise the UK will automatically accept the results of tests from whichever EU member state has been responsible. I do not know of a policing role for VCA to check other state’s results, unless asked to for particular reasons. Perhaps I have misunderstood your statement, or perhaps you do have knowledge of this role for VCA?

I do not know if VCA arranged any testing for VW, and/or were the Approval Authority for any of VW’s tests. Do you? If they were then they may have been hoodwinked. If they were not then I do not see how they can be culpable in any way.

Malcolm – European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) states…

“Once all of the system and component approvals are in place, the vehicle will be considered as a whole by a designated approval body; in the UK this is VCA. This assessment can take place at any appropriate facility, providing the appropriate equipment and environment are available. A successful inspection accompanied by the submission of the relevant manufacturer’s information documents will result in the issue of a European Whole Vehicle Type Approval Certificate. This certification will be accepted throughout the EU without the need for further testing until a standard is updated or the design of the vehicle changes. Once a vehicle is approved, the manufacturer should have processes in place to produce a Certificate of Conformity (CofC) for each vehicle manufactured.”

Beryl., ECWVTA is one way of getting particular vehicles, such as those with the same basic characteristics but a number of variants, certified for conformity with EU standards. It is not specifically to do with emissions.

The VCA is the UK’s authority that can assess an application for ECWVTA . Other states have their own equivalents. But only one needs to do the assessment and the results then apply through all member states – (because of harmonisation)

From the VCA website:
“Who will be affected by ECWVTA?
The majority of businesses affected will be the manufacturers and converters of commercial vehicles, namely buses and coaches, goods vehicles and trailers. For a more comprehensive description of the vehicles affected please refer to the vehicle category definitions within the directive.”

“Consider the design and construction of your vehicle to ensure that all relevant components comply with the technical requirements, as listed in the ECWVTA Directive;
Make an application for Type Approval to the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) or another member state approval authority”

I think perhaps the misunderstanding is that the VCA must do this for all vehicles sold in the UK? This would be an impossible task, but also unnecessary. Just like testing any product to any European standard the results from an appropriate test house in any one state will be accepted automatically throughout the EU. The UK does not have to repeat the tests.

Malcolm the key issue here is not all vehicles but the whole vehicle type to be considered by a designated approval body; in the UK this is the VCA. I would imagine the whole vehicle included the engine and its related components to include exhaust and emissions.

If not VCA then who? I would have thought the ECWVTA would have included another Govt Appointed Body in its report if one existed so until I see some evidence that one actually does, I have to accept the evidence provided by the ECWVTA.

To exonerate the VCA from all responsibilty for testing vehicle manufacturers software systems defined as part of the whole vehicle type is nothing short of an oversight to my way of thinking and all credit goes to the students at The University of West Virginia for their invaluable insights into the deceit and duplicity carried out by VW.

Beryl, Remember we are looking at the VCA website saying what it can do, not what it has to do. It is advising the means by which a type test can move to certification by being assessed by a designated approval body (and only one approval body is needed in the EU – my words). If the manufacturer wishes to have the VCA approve it (on behalf of other EU states – my words again) then the VCA can do that for them (for a fee no doubt). Which is why it says: “Make an application for Type Approval to the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) or another member state approval authority”. The last bit says it.

Either I have totally misunderstood certification, or what you are getting at. I repeat once again that unless the VCA have been involved in testing VW Group vehicles where emissions were included I cannot see how you can criticise them. I’m sure you or someone else can tell me where I am wrong. 🙂

What we should be looking at is which agency (or agencies) were responsible for testing and/or overseeing the VW Group vehicles and see if they should have spotted the “cheat device”. My first guess would be it is unlikely.

Malcolm according to a report featured in the FT, Skoda which builds cars in the Czech Republic and is part of VW Group, has its cars certified in Britain.

The article expresses concerns about the EU’s weak regulatory regime allowing car makers to shop around country by country to choose the national regulator that will approve vehicles through testing and certification of new cars.

Some politicians are concerned these arrangements enable car makers to seek out the most lenient national certification regime, You can read the full report @ ft.com – Automobiles – Volkswagen emissions scandal exposes EU regulatory failures.

We should not believe everything poiticians say, particularly when they are wise in hindsight. I do not know how you would “discover a cheat device” when conducting the NEDC test. Do you? To imply that the UK VCA adopts a lax attitude towards testing that allowed this for Skoda is simply unsubstantiated – what evidence is there to support this?

On the road NOx has been known for years to be higher for many cars than NEDC testing shows – this is why the EU instigated RDE.

Where criticism is well founded is in the “regulatory failure” charge. The EU should have changed its test procedure years ago, it should have looked at on-the-road testing with much more urgency. We would then have more realistic emissions figures.

However, if there is evidence that the VCA is “lenient”, which also means that the test lab it used, wherever that is, falsified results, than it would be useful to provide it.

The evidence is blatantly clear, the VCA were responsible for the authorisation of the certification of Skoda cars. They failed to examine the data which determined the comparisons between lab and real world testing as revealed by the EPA.

Beryl, There is no requirement to do real world testing for emissions in the EU tests. It is also well known that real world and test emissions are different . so I do not see how this implicates VCA in conniving to produce dishonest certification.

The real life results and test results discrepancy in the USA prompted the EPA to look deeper at the cars involved and, by coincidence presumably, found evidence of a cheat.

However, as things stand, they could have found significant discrepancies in another brand of vehicle – Renault for example can emit 9 to 11 times the test value when on the road – but we have no knowledge of them using any method to cheat. So whether or not VCA looked at on the road results vs test results would not of itself affect legitimate certification.


“Beryl, the question I asked was, had VCA any involvement with VW testing. “.

I think I have answered your question by producing more than enough of the required evidence and facts to substantiate my assertions.

That is all I have to say on this particular topic.

Beryl, to clarify what seems the case. A research study was funded at UWV “sparked” by separate findings from the European Commissions Joint Research Centre that showed a discrepancy between test and “real life” emissions (presumably all linked with the EC’s Real Driving Emissions [RDE] test proposals started in 2010). It seems common knowledge that emissions on the road could significantly exceed those recorded on test.

The “students” were not it seems – they were a professor, two graduates, one other and a middle aged engineer. They also did “on the road” tests and found the same as the ECJRC- emissions higher than test. This was 18 months ago and reported to VW. The EPA then found that VW had used a “cheat” of some sort on the tests .

But the same sort of discrepancies (on the road vs test) occur in all diesel vehicles it seems – some greater than others – but so far not claimed as down to cheating; presumably simply down to the inadequacies of the current EC test regime (and maybe the US one?).

On this basis it seems like no revolutionary discovery and not by students. The coincidence was that on the particular cars tested a cheat was found. Perhaps the EC in investigating the discrepancy could have looked harder at manufacturer’s test vehicles to see if they might have a cheat device? Did EPA just strike lucky (or unlucky depending which side you are on)? However all this just doesn’t make such a good story perhaps.

Anyway, from a look at reports that is what I can find.

A cheat was never found. After pressure on VW VW admitted to having put a cheat in the software that allowed the software to recognise a test situation and make the fitted emissions equipment fully operational. When not on test much of the emission equipment became redundant. Hence the term “cheat” They software cheated the test
Nearly all vehicles exceed the recommended limits when in real time tests. The problem here is that for many years manufacturers only had to pass the test. This had became the norm and even Ford stood their ground with the BBC and clearly stated that their Ford Focus passed the test. If you want different have the test changed.
Because this “pass the test” thing has went on for so long it has became the norm. If something becomes the accepted norm then that is what is done.
With VW having broke the mould with their actions this has brought the knowledge that near all cars are higher emissions than the limits as we see them.
What we are asking for is for both the written law and the spirit of the law to be upheld. At present the written law has been modified a bit because of the inaction of Brussels or whoever leaving the norm to become the accepted norm.
This is how many if not near all manufacturers can stand and say “it passed the test” It did
What VW did was way beyond just passing the test in the knowledge the vehicle would emit a slightly higher concentration of some elements.
VW went all the way and set up their system to pass the test and then just stop operating which is nothing like what others had been doing.
So the same discrepancies are not found in all diesel vehicles.
VW are off the chart compared to others because they in effect had no NOX reducing equipment

I was not convinced by the article either, Malcolm. That’s one of the reasons I posted it without comment.

Since it is common business practice to examine products made by rival companies, I wonder why the VW software cheat was not identified and reported by another manufacturer. My guess is that a lot of diesel engines are chucking out a lot of nitrogen oxides in the hands of motorists and it would be unfortunate for the motor industry if this was made public. Just an unsubstantiated thought of course, but it would be interesting to see what independent testing establishes.

wavechange, it seems common knowledge that in “real life” diesels produce more NOx than on test. To quote from an EC press release 25/9/15:

“Currently nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of diesel vehicles measured on the road may in reality exceed substantially the emissions measured on the regulatory test cycle (NEDC), though in most cases probably in line with the applicable legislation. To address this shortcoming , the commission has been working to develop Real Driving Emission (RDE) test procedures”

As I said elsewhere, real life NOx can vary from 2 to 11 times test for some models and the RDE development has been on the go since 2010. I just wonder how the limits for NOx will in future be set given such potentially significant differences between real life and test.
Sorry to keep repeating this, but this is the EC’s fault because of the defective NEDC test, and they seem to have shown no real urgency in putting it right. I bet that will now change!

No one has found the cheat yet. The cheat will be hidden
Some of us are obviously assuming a cheat was been found. It hasnt.
No one found a cheat.
A seriously high series of emissions tests were found repeatedly in VW cars even after a US recal of the vehicles to fix the problem.
It was obvious VW vehicle had a fault or an anomaly causing the emissions to soar when on the road.
The US had to pressure VW into admitting they had cheated the system.
VW have admitted to having a cheat in their system.
It was VW who coined the word cheat in this instance
The software is actually copyright protected and even if the cheat were found to say you found it would admitting to the thing even before you were accused. That seriously needs changed too.

I doubt that the new tests will be implemented within less than two years and have not seen anything to suggest otherwise. No matter what new tests are introduced, they need to be carried out independently of the manufacturers to be credible.

The same EC press release says that the RDE test (for NOx initially, later for particle numbers) will come into force in Jan 2016 for monitoring purposes only (not certification) while information is gathered to enable not-to-exceed limits to be established. It aims to have these applicable for all type approvals in autumn 2017 and for new vehicles in autumn 2018 (not sure of the difference). “The nte limits should reflect environmental objectives as well as economic and technical feasibility” which I assume means a pragmatic approach will be adopted.

As far as “independent” laboratories are concerned I’m not sure where these are. In the UK one is at MIRA (are there any others?); is this to be regarded as independent? I understand an independent expert is required to oversee any tests ; the UK’s VCA can perform this role throughout the world it seems.
“VCA is the UK automotive approval Authority and a Technical Service so has the responsibility
for witnessing or carrying out the tests as well as issuing the approval certificates. Tests can be
witnessed at any suitable facility anywhere in the world, whether they are owned by the
manufacturer or hired by the manufacturer for the period. To enable us to offer our services
locally, VCA has resident staff at offices around the world, including the USA, Japan, Malaysia,
Korea, Italy, Australia, India, Brazil and China.
Any facility to be used must first be appraised by VCA to ensure that the equipment is
appropriate for approval testing, and this can be arranged as a separate exercise or as a
prelude to a test programme. VCA appraisal techniques follow established quality principles.
If preferred by the manufacturer, VCA can provide a full service including the provision of
instrumentation and test facilities. This would normally be done through our UK VCA Midlands
Centre at Nuneaton, using MIRA facilities.

I believe that if this is done this should ensure independence. From some comments made any lab that is paid by a manufacturer is seen as not independent. This does not follow. Tests have to be paid for by manufacturers, as do the independent overseers. If we need to do anything apart from normal laboratory auditing to maintain accreditation (which includes checking equipment and staff qualifications) we could arrange cross checking of a particular test from time to time.

Emissions testing should be funded by vehicle manufacturers but that does not mean that they should arrange the testing. If you or I take a driving test, we don’t commission an examiner but pay for our test and the DVSA arranges it.

A charity I’m involved with has to have a trained person in charge of an activity involving members of the public. This training is offered by a various accredited training centres round the country and the trainee usually arranges and pays the trainer directly. To the best of my knowledge, no-one who completes the course is ever failed, making the certification a joke.

I accept that we need to set up independent test facilities, but the sooner we get on with this the better.

Would you be happy if Which? used manufacturers’ test results for washing machines or results that had been produced in labs funded by the companies? I would not.

Well, we used BSI for testing products, arranged it and paid directly. It gave us no benefit. I chose which centre to take my driving test at. Didn’t give me any advantage.

I think to now suggest that if a manufacturer arranges testing and pays for it, with an independent overseer who vets the lab first such as VCA, will then have bought the results they want requires some evidence.

As far as I know schools and colleges still choose their own exam boards and pay them. Does that mean they arrange this to get more favourable results?

We have to trust some things, provided they are properly monitored. If you don’t then would you trust a German lab testing German cars, a Japanese one for Japanese cars? Etc. There is no end to where such a view can lead. The key is to audit, examine and properly monitor testing wherever it is carried out. In my view anyway. I’m sure we will continue to differ and it has been done to death a bit by now, don’t you think? 🙂

A number of manufacturers have been challenged over their published figures. The investigation carried out by Altroconsumo is the best known example and the current problems with VW Group vehicles will no doubt help raise awareness of the ongoing class action again VW and Fiat. Hopefully we might see a widespread investigation of car manufacturers and I wonder if any of the companies will survive without criticism. The increasing difference between published mpg figures and what the average motorist achieves may be mainly due to the outdated testing but the fact that cars are being modified before testing indicates how corrupt the present testing system is. Even a schoolkid could work out that tests need to be carried out on unmodified vehicles to produce figures that can be compared for different makes and models. The whole reason that independent testing exists is because the alternatives may be unsatisfactory.

Looking at your comments, I don’t know why we have several exam boards for school exams. On the other hand, having several boards probably helps keep the curriculum relevant and competition generally has some benefits. On the other hand, it is hardly surprising that we see frequent allegations of one board being easier than another and a general decline in standards, fuelled by criticism if we don’t see an annual improvement in average grades.

With a driving test, you may be able to pick the test centre but you are not choosing your examiner and negotiating how much to pay for the test.

You say we have to trust some things provided they are properly monitored. If that had been working we would have learned about the software cheat long ago. I have read that this was introduced in 2008. Even if that is not accurate, we know that a lot of cars are affected. Changes are needed to ensure that this never happens again.

I might be the only person in the world who is more concerned about modification of vehicles prior to testing than the VW software cheat. By not investigating the issue in depth we are condoning cheating. Further up this page, John made a very interesting observation: “I suppose cheating can be illegitimate but somehow remain within the bounds of the law.” Alternatively, cheating has become legitimate. I rest my case – for the moment. 🙂

I see a world of difference between consumer products and those sold commercially, which is I suspect the area that you worked in.

I have worked directly in the laboratory testing world, and seen what goes on in commercial laboratories and in manufacturers laboratories. They operated in a straightforward and ethical way. You must also remember that the purpose of manufacturers laboratories – and some commercial – is to test ideas and products to improve them and to also ensure that they do meet the requirements that international standards and EuroNorms place on them. They are not there to cheat.

I was concerned with both domestic and commercial products; the approach is the same.

The idea that some wish to spread that all manufacturers are devious cheats is sad and misconceived. There will always be bad apples – VW in this case, some LED manufacturers for example, but to tar all with the same brush is a very negative approach.

We have seen no facts following up the Fiat/VW allegations.

Some clearly want to brand all car manufacturers as cheats, but where does that get to? The remedy of a better test regime is the positive way forward.

A better test regime is exactly what I am seeking. That’s not a case of introducing improved tests but assurance that the figures are reliable. The time honoured way of achieving this is independent testing.

Hyundai have already paid compensation over mpg claims and it will be interesting to see how the Altroconsumo/BEUC case proceeds.

Look back at the comments on Which? Convo about premature failure and radio interference by LED lamps and you will see that the big brands feature too, not just the cheap ones.

I don’t want to brand all manufacturers as cheats. I simply want them to produce evidence of their claims.

“Time honoured” is just another marketing term that aims to lend credibility to a statement. 🙂 Like “the reality is” and “most people think”.

The vast majority of data for products is provided by the manufacturers, and done genuinely. It is simply impractical to expect every commercial statement, advert., or piece of data to be independently produced or verified.

However, perhaps you could campaign for every advert or piece of data published to carry a disclaimer “Do not believe a word of this. Check for yourself”.

Perhaps we would require Which? to have all the articles it produces to be independently verified to ensure they are fair, balanced and accurate?

As I said earlier there is a real world we have to learn to live in, populated mostly by honest people doing honest things. Thieves, terrorists, and other nasty people also inhabit this world; but just because they are there does not mean we should assume all the rest might be as bad and treat them accordingly.

Do we know what the programme is that cheats the emissions testing in US – and what is different to the UK model? Can we confirm?
I heard the US change involved using some type of additive post combustion to reduce the NOX reading i.e. small reservoir of urea/adblue (as used by lorries – to neutralise the gas) existing in the engine make-up but only triggered during testing as if used all the time it would require another tank.
Do the US measure NOX? – is that why VW may have included this additive (a physical change as well as programming)?
UK-wise – we have come across a 2.0 Seat which when revved in neutral/handbrake (as is done for the MOT test) it would not go beyond 2000 revs – effectively preventing a proper test – marked as ‘no measurement possible’ (or similar) on the MOT form.
Any thoughts?

When will it be time to stop any form of promoting diesel cars.
The Gov should pull the rug now.
There is not need for them.
Why do they need this supposed diesel economy and on the other hand many have 200 odd bhp in a hatchback. It doesnt quite add up does it. They dont want a diesel Panda or a diesel Smart car, they want “class”.
We have people who are happy with a diesel with 60mpg on paper and 40mpg in reality. Right here on Which it is well noted.
There are loads of petrol cars easy on fuel but they are not as large or heavy for obvious reasons.
A similar size petrol is never going to go as far as a diesel on a gallon of fuel but if one can do without the 100 of 200hp then petrol can be and is quiet good.
Maybe we should also sell fuel by weight. LPG around 500grms per L Petrol in the low 700 grms per L and diesel in the low 800s. Today just in the middle of this fraud we see diesel again cheaper than petrol. Gov, get a grip on yourselves.
If James May a prominent TV presenter can do 10s of 1000s of miles in a Panda whats wrong with everyone. Whats wrong with the likes of a Panda.
VW make good petrols also if you wont drive anything else other than a VW although VW may not be the best at that either but they certainly have some good little cars.
Brussels was most definitely at its work to start the co2 based promotion years ago and I was amazed at that time and I mean really taken aback. The other problems were known then just the same as now but were ignored at the health costs to 10,000s
Was this in aid of promoting diesel as an actual clean fuel or back door route to promote your own brands or save fuel importing. Something stank and if it didnt our politicians and departments are even more stupid than I imagined.
Not long before that Brussels had to get all petrol cars fitted with a CAT which converted CO to co2.
If co2 was the big boggie why? Why not seek an alternative.
There wasnt much effort or incentive went into reducing CO from petrols was there?
LPG was paid lip service and that was about that. The LPG price was set just about where the LPG car would break even. Not much incentive that.
Now we mess around with modern diesels until the man in the street does not know what is coming at him. And it is not all good neither for the planet or us personally.
The man in the street is fed up to the teeth being bombarded with an endless pile of what he see’s as s**t and s**t wouldnt be far from the truth. Now when the truth starts to come out he no longer wants to hear.

All these people who loved oil burners were jumping for joy that their great sooty cars were deemed clean. Right in your face they were.
So I’m sorry if I sometimes give someone a nudge, Let me tell you, there were those who gave me a nudge back then. I was more or less made to stand and take it per se.
Diesels are this and diesels are that and you should have one, everyone should have one, petrol is dead. I’m not making the words up, thats what was said. There were and maybe still are magazines dedicated to those very ends.
For the most part we personally avoided diesels except for a couple. My wife listened in the hospital where she worked all about these great diesels. She had to get one and a partner turned up locally. 13k miles and nothing wrong with it. About 18mths later she came home one night and said “can I go back to a wee Fait” The comment tells it all.
We have a camper on diesel as that was all I could find in what we wanted in RHD. It has the smallest of any diesel engine I would wish to have an Iveco 8140.43.
Today we have to be so politically correct and well mannered. Well, well mannered is about to get the nudge.
My lungs are full of particulate matter and I’m not alone. What about the little children we seen all over the place hanging onto those big plastic bottle things with steroids inside. I have a daughter who was one of those children. Never in a smoky atmosphere, brought up in the country but one of the mass that suffered chest problems like something out of the industrial revolution.
Yes it was diesel fumes, there is little to refute that now.
No our new diesel cars are not good and great, the problem continues. And even if VW hadnt been caught we are learning now that what looks like the majority although they passed a test are in real time nowhere near a good as they should be.
I dont want to hear the idea that they passed the test and if Brussels or wherever wants better change the test.
The regs clearly show that the idea of the test was to make these vehicles have a reduced emissions. What happened to the spirit of the law. Manufactures simply it seems done as little as they could and VW, well the words to describe their actions would look so good on here.
As to Brussels, did they simply “go to lunch”.
All those good and clean things that came out and still comes out of diesel exhausts only its not quite as visible now.
You see I am of the opinion that every step along the way Gov’s were being “led on” by this brigade of diesel manufacturers and perhaps even Brussels.
Today we have a thing called a DPF that we are have been carefully led to believe filters out the soot.
It does and it doesnt. It doesnt is probably closer.
What is does is stop the big particulate matter once commonly known as PM10 and re-burns it.
Now one cannot do magic and make this stuff disappear like the blurb suggests.
There is no such thing as magic there is only illusion.
All the stuff that is in there has to come out and it does come out but in a slightly different form and nowhere near as visible. So to call it a filter is again changing the meaning of the word. A filter usually means in everyone mind to be a thing that only allows material of a certain size through. Everything else stay put.
It is a kinda of a filter.
It holds big the big black stuff that is very visible back until it is turned into stuff barely visible that can get even further into the littler bits of your lungs.
I was working at many many diesels and how a thing with a tail pipe so full of soot could be deemed clean I do not know.
Even vehicles with less than 20k miles could fill the big workshop with fumes and we had to switch the extractors on or choke. And this was supposed to be clean. I think the word clean literally got a new meaning around that time.
To now see people surprised by these revelations suggests that they heard what they wanted to hear. They lapped up the blurb.
People were and are obviously not very keen to do their own research because if they had done the net was full of this debate and there are many people and some of them are mechanics who are not and were never pro diesel cars.
Most of us mechanics it seems are willing to put up with the big diesels as we have all driven them and understand the job they do and the advantage s of high torque rise to heavy vehicles and the mpg.
A lorry on petrol or gas would need too much fuel to keep it running. It would not be as easy to drive because those big diesels can really pull. They have great big cylinders that go up and down at a fraction of the speed of a cars tiny little things. That is very important to efficiency. The big slow stoke is very low on friction and the cylinder gets nice and full and the combustion gets as much time to burn as possible. There are so many things about a slow running diesel that s an advantage I could write for a day. The machine has no trouble carrying a big tank of Urea solution nor huge exhaust filters neither of which fit easy on a car.
Yes they may not be squeaky clean but they are not the main problem like it or not.
Lorrys dont make 2 cold starts per day and 2 short trips and cold and short trips add in no small way to this problem. A cold engine is a multiple times worse than a warm engine. Lorries are not accelerating and braking and hurrying the way some cars are. Lrries are governed by speed limiters that do quite a bit to save fuel and polution. If we suggested limiting a cars speed the whole country would be up in arms. The Gov limited lorry speed and there wasnt a word about it.
Unfortunate the test results dont show this. Years and years ago petrols had to get fast heat lambda sensors etc to ensure the ECU could see the air fuel ratio in seconds.
You see I think petrols were hammered because of co2 but today we are seeing that co2 is not the only problem and there are several potential problems much more immediate than co2.
We need lorries and lorries, buses vans etc and they have no trouble having or carrying a proper big exhaust filters and all kinds of things like a Urea system which makes a way better job than any EGR anyhow. Cramming all this stuff onto cars is bonkers.
We might get rid of 30% of these cars in 5 or 6 years by natural selection method and the rest will disappear over the following 10 years. It is not going to happen overnight no matter what. Even if Gov’s got real angry like when they go to war somewhere and decided diesel cars were bad news the Gov wont but them back nor will they legislate for the manufactures to buy them back because it was big business and Gov got s here. neither are going to pay. We are the ones paying.
The Guardian however will as usual pluck the worst bit of the worst story to make popular “bad news”

Mike from Hampshire says:
13 October 2015

Banning diesel cars – sacre bleu, the French will have kittens! Their economy runs on diesel cars!

Hmm – might have a problem stocking up Tesco within 24 hours of switching off the diesel engines which keep this country’s inventory moving. Good idea if you live out in the countryside and are completely self-sufficient. Oh hang on a minute – the local (diesel-powered) bus service won’t be around to take you to the market!

I walk across London every day, from Waterloo to my office near Victoria. The walk is usually pleasant and I get the impression that, whilst large in number, buses and lorries don’t stink the way that I remember from the Eighties. Leaving aside the current furore regarding VW and cheating, am I right in thinking that without emissions standards we would be walking around in a permanent 1950s smog? In which case let’s get the technology working properly.

I notice that the Audi A6 Ultra has a small AdBlue tank; as it is a Volkswagen, I presume that after the “reprogramming” it will require a bigger urea tank or regular fill-ups. Is someone taking the urea??


I’m guessing a little here but as best I know the 2014 on Ultra is Euro 6 engine and as such is Adblue or Urea from the outset.
I’ll stand corrected but and I have wrote repeatedly that there would be no reason or advantage in masking/disabling or cheating on an Urea system.
Cheating on an Adbue system would not add either MPG of BHP nor would it extend service intervals all the things reportedly to be the benefit of the “cheat”
The only advantage would be to save Urea and if they were that miserable then maybe all VW Group customers should be saying very seriously to themselves, how can there be any quality if the misery comes down to this.
An Adblue tank wont be large in any case in any car but with today’s CAD design and everything stuffed in every shape including moulded plastic fuel tanks (great job, they dont rust) and exhausts filling every available space retro fitting Urea system would not be easy and Urea may have its downsides for those low miles owners also.
At this time VW have said unless for a minority of the small TDIs they anticipate a software update.
The smaller one are to get additional “injectors” replacement so there is certainly something mechanical to be done even if the term may change.
Injectors sounds good I feel?
It might be injectors. Maybe the cheat free operation needs a different setup of when and amount of squirts. Maybe the injector rail pressure may have to be upped which may be possible with a change of high pressure pump and rail to introduce the ever finer spray patterns that are popular bearing in mind the smaller TDIs were already a bit of a headache according to reports.
Perhaps is perhaps not the right word there.
I have written before that if I were in the design office I would be doing everything possible to avoid a retro Urea type system.
It does not matter how much of the existing system ends up needing an upgrade to accommodate full time proper emissions controls the ECU is there, it has the software in to put it in test mode. All it has to do is stay in that mode so no real expense there.
If there were to be say a couple of possible changes such as maybe a better EGR valve of perhaps a more able DPF to work with the increased system soot then both of these can be mass produced and at the age of all these vehicles can be screwed on in a few minutes or even an hour or two in slow mode. There is no addtitional wireing or replacement of ECUs. All such equipment remains intact.
Fitting a retro Urea system is not as easy as it rolls off the lip.
VW nor the dealer dont want a kit of stuff full of brackets, holes to drill, nutlets to fit, possible fuel tank changes. Adblue filler to be gotten located somewhere usable. Owners dont want this type of thing either.
Some suppose that if the very late models of US model had Adblue then the leg work has been done.
It would be most unlikely that such bundle of parts could be backward compatable.
I was becoming impatient and I still dont like VW s attitude as they have kinda apologised but I seen as as kinda.
I dont see any apology to the folk who bought the car to be green and clean or the very fussy mpg man.
So although there has been an announcement I have not seen too many owners saying they felt like VW had apologised to them.
That is how a good well gilded, well worded apology should come across.
It hasn’t quite made it to there as yet.
Maybe what they need to do is learn something hitherto unknown to them. Grovel.
However what I am now hearing is that a simple software change will do most and a set if injectors will do the rest.
What that is telling me and I am a mechanic and later in design in another field of engineering is that they have decide to go with the technology already in the cars. They may add or change a few bits an bobs along the way but that is the route they are taking.
They are committed to that route. So no Adblue.
They have by their statement from today to the beginning of 2016 to have any problems ironed out.
Upgrade parts if required sourced or worse designed tested and made and the parts ordered in bulk which will be coming from companies who already have a long term schedule with the other manufacturers.
The parts need to be in the VW warehouse ready for dispatch for the New Year. Thats a tall order. These thing dont happen overnight, anywhere, anyhow.
Even if they are several weeks late they are setting the bar very high just now. Even me who is not a VW fan will clap them on the back if the pull it off. According to what ends up being needed even it it makes its way around to march I might still say they done well
Might I add, that if they were completely convinced a software change was all was needed the cars would in the dealers now.
This further shows me that there are a few last minute checks to do before they committing to a firm time line.
Software doesnt have to be manufactured as such and it can be transmitted or copied 1000s of times in seconds.
They have done enough to convince themselves it is both possible and practical to go ahead with the basic outline of the existing systems.
So I’ll make an educated guess that their basic system that is the same as many others looks as they originally thought to basically do as everyone else’s does and reduce NOX.
However this fix has to be better than any other on the road. By far.
I think I could safely say that there are several engines of each type and spec running in the test-benches day and night with engineers logging everything and mimicking all driving conditions. Real conditions
When this fix comes it will have to pass the US requirements that were always way tighter than here and no one here will want to learn that the US cars were treated better than the ones here.
When the cars leave the workshops the customers will be listening and watching for the slightest hiccup or twitch from anything and non more so again than US customers. We only think we are fussy. US customers could give us an education in fussy.
VW garages will tormented with all kinds of “I think I heard something ” I think I saw smoke when it was just water in the exhaust gases on a cold morning.
This fix will have to be one of the best in history because this has been the biggest let-downs in history.
Even such things as the US Federdal and state fines will take the outcome of VWs fix into account and cases may be delayed to see how well VW have back at this,
The Class type actions will also look at the outcome of the fix.
How successful has the VW fix been.
Has there been reliablity issues with the fix.
VW know it will pay them well to get this one right, they may have made the biggest corporate blunder in history so they’ll have to make the customer happy like no other time in history.
They know today that no matter what they spend, how high the standard has to be the better they do the job the more they’ll save in the long run.
The fines are not just about the fraud. if they behave like good little boys to their customers the courts will recognise that.
It’s a very big, very tall order indeed.
I hope VW climb down from on high where they put themselves many years ago because that would be just about the worst place to start this from.
Humbling themselves and getting the job right will win more customers than their previous style
Good luck to you all, it seems you might be going in the right direction at last. I hope I dont have to eat my words before tomorrow eve

The cheat was the same software cheat for all 11m cars

Which? reported that liquid urea was injected into the exhaust in the US by the “cheat device” when a test was recognised, but turned off at other times. I haven’t seen confirmation of this. A likely consequence would be an increase in CO2. The US have much stricter NOx controls than in Europe but measurements are part of type approval in both.

Hi Again Malcolm. There were several reports about the Urea route, I think misguided.
I cannot see how switching off a Urea system would benefit mpg or bhp although it would raise the NOX output.
After the Urea is injected into the exhaust it is injected in before another CAT that used to convert the then combined gases to make an effective reduction in NOX.
Does it work, Yes.
Is it reliable, Yes on lorries, Cars??? time will tell.
Does it solve all the emissions problems, NO.
What it does do is allow for max burn, max power with much reduced NOX output.
Do I like it. I have no extended experience but those involved suggest its as good as it gets just now. By those involved I mean those around it and mechanics/drivers.
Certainly the heavy vehicles benefit from it and I would rather have it as not have it. Certainly way better than an EGR system.
VW reportedly were just about to or had just done, introduced a new range with Urea system in the US.
I presume they were aware they were close to the edge with their cheat. I’ll rephrase that. They were aware!!
In my personal opinion of which and you’ll know there are many the vehicles involved were the EGR type NOX reduction which benefit seriously from not useing the EGR.
I know you would like to know by just how much mpg and bhp are made worse but I cannot find anything in my notes or info I was given at any of the courses.
All we get told is that after research this is what has reached the required emissions and whilst it may hurt mpg a little is is worth it to get clean air. I didnt take them up on the last bit. I’m there to learn what is going on and I am interested in engineering otherwise I would not pay my money.
What I am confident of is that if a car gets what is known as an EGR Delete done/performed the mpg immediately jumps somewhere between 10 & 20%. I have a son in law who has had this done now twice and both times the same result. It is also widely talked openly about as being a big improvment of both mpg and bhp.
It also stop the endless regen cycles the older cars perform that make for an absolutely stinking exhaust.
Over the last number of years manufacturers have went from 2 valves to 4 valves per cylinder which meant a complete head design and an additional camshaft and started using variable vane turbo’s. Injection has went from one squirt per firing stroke up to around 8 or 9 now, The fuel rail pressures are like something out of Star Trek. These all cost lots of money to perfect.
There are other littler things they have done but an awful lot of work has went into not getting much out the other end. In other words the work they put in hasn’t shown a marked improvement thus the marked improvement must get used up.
Certainly looks like it when you get rid of a load of the items. These modern diesels can go like no mans business. A Golf can be around 140bhp. Imagine that with emissions equipment remove. Is there any need for this?
I would not think so. Take a look at a video Roger Clarke driving the Escort 1600 Twin Cam. That was the worlds most powerful rally car at the time with 115bhp. Does it look like he’s hanging around, no.
The first 2.0 BDG Escorts were around 250 going on to 300 and more.
What need does a golf diesel have of being 140 or more. There is certainly little excuse to say I drive a diesel for economy. Its more like I drive a Golf diesel because I can. My camper has about that power and it is 4 ton and tows a Seicento on a trailer.. There are loads of small lorries with that power. There are loads of 3500kg vans with less power.

Malcolm – Diesel exhaust fluid is not liquid urea (urea is a solid at ambient temperatures) but a concentrated aqueous solution of urea. It is undoubtedly effective at decreasing emission of nitrogen oxides from lean burn diesel engines but as DeeKay has pointed out it takes up space, which is at a premium on most modern vehicles. Some sort of metering pump is needed to deliver the correct dose in response to engine load, etc. There are problems with the diesel exhaust fluid crystallising/freezing in cold weather and I presume that a heater is needed in cold climates. The carbon in urea will end up as carbon dioxide but that will be far less than produced by burning diesel fuel.

well, wavechange, I should probably have phrased it better as a urea liquid – Which? describes it as urea fluid.

Which?s report said “The software works by controlling a device that injects urea fluid into the emission control system, which reduces the amount of nitrogen oxide released. It can detect when the car is being run under lab conditions, as devices such as anti-collision systems are turned off in this environment. Once the car returns to normal road use, the software switches itself off – otherwise it would quickly run out of the fluid.”

I have not seen confirmation of Which?’s statement – has anyone else. It seemed a clumsy way. to me, to deal with a problem.

You are, I am sure, right in your observations. However, my point was that adding the urea liquid to the emissions would reduce NOx but convert some carbon into CO2 that was additional to that already being produced – thus increasing CO2 emissions under test conditions (above what the engine would normally have emitted – so a trade-off).

The system is used in commercial diesel vehicles I believe.

It would be possible to estimate the additional carbon dioxide produced if we knew the rate of consumption of the urea solution. Each gram of urea (not solution) will be converted to 0.73g carbon dioxide. That makes the assumption that all urea is consumed, which might not be the case, but it would be a worst case situation.

You see what bothers me about this cheat – and what I don’t understand – is that manufacturers are striving to meet EU CO2 targets; if they don’t they get fined. The CO2 band their car gets into can reduce tax bills – VED and benefit in kind – so it is also important to get it to the lowest band they can. However, if Which? is right in claiming that urea fluid is added to the emission control system on test, and if that, as it seems, will produce extra CO2 to add to that already being emitted, then they might be shooting themselves in the foot. Clearly they are not – they will have thought of that. So is the urea bit not true? Is it just software manipulating the engine components? Running a bit rich perhaps? I’ve no idea. Can someone help me?

And just now Paul Willis VW UK has said that not only will the 1.6 TDI need a software update but also injectors replaced. Now I have worked at these tin box’s most of my life and I dont get this one.
What’s the chances it is something else, lets say a load of these had for some mysterious reason been running for some time with lets say no DPF.
A Mangager could quiet easily say that he is just a manager not an engineer. He has said that already and thought it was injectors were needed.
That would fit better with long standing rumours about little cars clogging up DPFs and there being an unofficial/officlal fix being done that included replacement of the DPF with a basic pipe and a software mask being installed this of course after the DPF blocked. 1.6 cars are certainly more the city type market am I correct? Are the little diesels with this rumour these 1.6 VWs
Mr Willis stated that he handled sale’s, marketing and finance and that engineering was handled by the engineers in Wolfburg. He is reported as having said ” I am not an engineer” several times
Well like my previous rant.
Is it not D****d near time there was an engineer to answer these question. What is the point of our well paid people wasting time listening to someone who by his own admittance does not his backside from a hole in the road.
This is the biggest load of hypocrisy.
Get the the organ grinder not the blasted monkey and if the engineers dont appear the first man to arrest is in the UK is a certain Mr Willis on the ground of obstructing the course etc.
These suits always appear like a bad smell.
Get them out of here.
Overpaid waste of space. He handles marketing. I’ll bet you can find 100 if not 1000 people who he the man who is not an engineer spilled out endless VW engineering triumphs about these great diesels to when trying to sell the things.
Someone corrected me about the pressure building. Maybe they are right but every day another D**** stands up with his VW are sorry story and even the people in front him dont believe him.
Maybe VW are hoping that it will all become pathetic that we’ll all just walk away shaking our heads. Heh, remember me. I’m not going anywhere.
Another day another load of lies. It may take a little more than a batch of injectors and a software update to sort this lot out. I’d like to go and randomly see a few of these VWs come in and get the fix. I’d like to see it with my own eyes. I’d like to be there when the real time road test take place. I’ll allow them to be 4 or 5 times the regulated NOX limit just like their competitors. I would love to see that.

This eve is real good for daft things. The Governor of Alaska has just said that there needs to be an increase in the search for oil to pay for climate change. Only in America??????

Hi Dee – Can you give me an idea how frequently the DPF on a 1.6 VW goes through a cleaning cycle? As far as I’m aware the indicator light only comes on if I have to take the car on a run, maintaining a sufficient speed for a period to allow completion of a cleaning cycle – which has not happened so far.

What length is a piece of string.
Not all systems behave the same or have the same management light issue if in need,
I understand that VW are a bit miserable about replacing DPFs so your most likely out of luck with them should you need one.
Or maybe with this current bad press they might be more understanding of the beast they created.
This 1.6 is one that many around noted as being a bigger pain in the rear. It is the one that even with workers driving it on and off all day has given trouble. You’ll never get VW to admit to that, never.
Helping it along with a drive in whatever gear at 70mph is not really the answer.
The turbo has to be operating so you’ll have to hear that little noise from it.
It’s not about simple driving it along a motorway for 20 or 30 miles.
The manifold and pipework after the turbo is barely hot on a turbo diesel at cruise let alone red hot and red hot is what it needs to keep the heat transmitting on down the pipe to that thing that should maybe never have been on a car.
Like it or lump it even this 1.6 barley has to work to transport one or two people around so the DPF will seldom if ever get hot enough without the regen cycles.
I am of the opinion that the DPF is starting to block from the first day the car is started.
Its a kinda of an accident waiting to happen sort of thing
Running along in one of these modern diesels at 70 is never going to create the heat required, its just going to be temporary short term fix. Thats what everyone gets told too get you out the door. Sir you are not getting your car hot enough with short journeys and you need to take it on the motorway for a few miles at 70mph. What a load of old ******** It’s “get you out the door time” without shaking the floor brush at you. From your post it sounds to me like this is what you are doing. Its needs a bit more heat than this to get the thing cleaned out
You are, or the DPF is trying to change particulates of 10 micron and larger carbon basically down to 3 micron or smaller if i remember the sizes correctly but the gist of the thing is near right anyhow. Burning what is basically oil coated carbon is not easy task and a little box in your exhaust with that size holes is going to finally block some day.
As to why this 1.6 and some others give so much trouble I dont know. Maybe the DPF used is actually the same as a larger engine in which case maybe the littler engine with less exhaust gases doesnt heat it the same as the larger. Maybe a 1.6 is just pushing their luck for a DPF.
In my humble opinion it was they who made the thing, they should have made something that doen the job properly.
I do not go for the theory that you should not own one of these modern diesels if you only do short journeys.
They sold everyone the things and didnt ask a single question about journey times, Then when this crap happens you the customer get blamed, how contradictory is that.
I would find that condescending to have me as the owner blamed.
Anyhow back to your question
You see the first thing the turbocharger does is to remove all the heat and energy it can. That is what a turbo does, it uses otherwise waste heat to compress the inlet charge.
The best clean will be the biggest hill you can find and then find out what is the highest gear the thing will just about pull up the hill.
Where you find a long hill like this I do not know.
It has to be working its heart out at low to mid range power, It cant really be in top gear because you would be be seriously breaking the speed limit hence the usual advice of Sir driving at 70mph.
Just merrily running along at 70 while not do. Thats my opinion.
A dyno would be the best bet, It would warm her cockles although some may come on here and say one shouldnt put a road car on one of those things. I say it might be the best thing ever happened to them. It may shock you how much stuff appears out the rear.
But anyway’s, if it is similar to the stuff around here.
If the light comes on to tell you the DPF is in need of a regen it is in real need
I would imagine because most vehicles go through regens without the drivers notice.
Usually the noticable thing during a regen is a kinda sooty smell.
Unfortunatley if your having to take it to someone and have what is often termed as a “forced regen” I have noticed that the long term outcome to be not good.
I hate to say this but most folk go down the not advised route just about now however that will more or less keep you out of any VW warranty and as to the up and coming recall it would probably make a monkeys ear of that entirely.
You may be between a rock and a hard place.

The sales rep did quiz me about my intended use before selling me the car. He gave me a leaflet pointing out the dangers of short journeys and what to do if the warning light came on. There was another copy with the vehicle documents and he did a reminder when I collected the car. It did make me wonder if I had been unwise in buying a diesel.

I’m more concerned about the EGR valve getting bunged up because I know a few people who have had this problem. PCV is a sensible idea but EGR seems like asking for problems.

I’ve had some goodwill from VW in the past.

DeeKay, they get marketing people to answer these questions because they know how to say the right things – without actually saying too much – and put the best spin possible on an “issue”. Just like politicians. You would think our politicians on these committees would deal with that…….

Get an engineer along (these are reputable well qualified people in the main who know fact from fiction) who might end up putting their foot in it commercially by being helpful.

Equally, though, we should have professionals – engineers in this case – on the committee who also ask intelligent and relevant questions and move the case forward positively. I, at this stage, would like to see the problem resolved for everyone as quickly as possible. The recriminations and witch hunt can come later to appease the vultures.

Boy do I not know about it. I worked in the midst of a lot like this for a while. I have never seen as big a bunch of lier’s in one place. Yes the Gov bodies should actually ask to have someone come instead who can answer the technical questions. I know they are factual that is something you and I might understand. Ii dont understand how someone can sit in front of a panel and just say “I’m not an engineer” like he doesnt know or that VW have non of those things. If it were me I would be saying I’m not an engineer but wait to I get you one of those, we have loads of them. That would be a mistake.
I have a story about diesel and the several decades leading up to this, There is a load of factual stuff mixed with a bit of close to the bone guesswork and a but of comedy but some laugh at it,

On what basis do Which? think owners’ compensation should be based? Two items spring to my mind:
1. Extra fuel consumption, derived from real life reports with the cheat device and after engine modification.
2. Any loss of value .
Both will take time to measure.
Or would you propose a simple one-off settlement for everyone? I imagine VW will want to set a common policy throughout the EU.

Hello @patrick! As this “issue” is Europe-wide I see it unlikely that VW will treat different states and countries differently, so I wonder who will “broker” the deal – will it be left to the EC?

Hi Malcolm, thanks for your question. I thought it’d be helpful to add a bit of information about what we’re doing at regional level. We’re collaborating with BEUC and liaising with other European consumer association to share information, understand how the issue is being managed in individual markets and coordinate our contact with Volkswagen. Currently, the VW group is discussing possible action plans with the German authorities and I expect we should get an update from them in the near future.

Thanks Emmanuelle, I’m glad to see cooperation in Europe through BEUC. I suspect government, in the end, will be involved in the settlement? Let’s hope they know what they are doing.
Quite how national compensation might be viewed – for excessive NOx that affects public health – will be interesting.

Dark was that day when Diesel conceived his grim engine that begot you,
vile invention, more vicious, more criminal than the camera even,
metallic monstrosity, bale and bane of our culture, chief woe of our Commonweal.
How dare the Law prohibit hashish and heroin yet license your use, who inflate all weak inferior egos?
Their addicts only do harm to their own lives: you poison the lungs of the innocent, your din dithers the peaceful, and on choked roads hundreds must daily die by chance-medley.
Nimble technicians, surely you should hang your heads in shame. Your wit works mighty wonders, has landed men on the Moon, replaced brains by computers, and can smithy a “smart” bomb.
It is a crying scandal that you cannot take the time or be bothered to build us, what sanity knows we need, an odorless and noiseless staid little electric brougham.

W.H. Auden (1907-1973), A Curse:


Dark was that day when Diesel conceived his grim engine that begot you, vile invention, more vicious, more criminal than the camera even, metallic monstrosity, bale and bane of our culture, chief woe of our Commonweal. How dare the Law prohibit hashish and heroin yet license your use, who inflate all weak inferior egos? Their addicts only do harm to their own lives: you poison the lungs of the innocent, your din dithers the peaceful, and on choked roads hundreds must daily die by chance-medley. Nimble technicians, surely you should hang your heads in shame. Your wit works mighty wonders, has landed men on the Moon, replaced brains by computers, and can smithy a “smart” bomb. It is a crying scandal that you cannot take the time or be bothered to build us, what sanity knows we need, an odorless and noiseless staid little electric brougham.

W.H. Auden (1907-1973), A Curse