/ Motoring

Thanks to you, we’re calling on car makers to come clean on fuel claims

Fuel claims campaign logo

Following your resounding support, we’ve launched a campaign calling on the car industry to Come Clean on Fuel Claims. Do you want action on misleading fuel claims?

When we asked for your reactions to the Volkswagen emissions scandal we weren’t quite expecting to see an influx of more than 400 comments. Almost 10,000 of you also voted in our poll asking whether the government should implement more stringent tests for car makers – 95% said ‘yes’.

Off the back of this response, we launched our Come Clean on Fuel Claims campaign on Saturday.

We’ve been looking into the issue of misleading fuel claims for years, and we’d been using our research to get the new fuel economy test implemented by 2017. However, your input gave us the impetus needed to go big and launch our petition:

The clock is ticking for car makers to respond

On the VW scandal, Steve told us:

‘I’m not naive enough to think that companies won’t dress up the facts to obtain custom, but the level of deceit is huge. I’m just waiting for the rest of the big names to be implicated.’

On that point, we gave car makers seven days to announce whether their fuel tests have been manipulated. You can read how the responded here.

Come clean on fuel claims

So what does our Come Clean on Fuel Claims campaign call for? We want:

  • All car manufacturers to announce whether their emissions and fuel economy tests have been manipulated.
  • The government to immediately publish a timetable for a genuinely independent investigation and ensure anyone found to be affected can get easy access to redress.
  • The European Commission to announce how it will bring forward new tests with full and proper independent oversight by the end of the year.

We’ll continue to engage with key stakeholders in the UK and Brussels and bring them your calls for action. We’re also looking into what emissions rigging would mean for you if Volkswagen is found to have used the same technology here in the UK.

In short, a big thank you to all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We’ll keep you posted on our progress, but in the meantime please sign our petition and tell us what you think.

[UPDATE 7 October 2015] – 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.

[UPDATE 12 October 2015] – Volkswagen’s UK boss, Paul Willis, faced the government’s transport select committee in the face of the VW emissions scandal. Mr Willis apologised ‘sincerely and unreservedly’ for letting customers down and said that it ‘will take all the necessary steps to regain trust’. He also added that VW had ‘mishandled the situation’.

There was no mention of redress for car owners, with Mr Willis saying that ‘it’s premature to talk about loss of value’. In response, our executive director Richard Lloyd said:

‘Admitting it mishandled the situation is only the start for Volkswagen Group UK. Consumers shouldn’t have to wait months before being told what compensation they could be entitled to for any losses they’ve already faced.’


I’ve read that by joining the class action you can only expect to get back approx. 70% of anything that’s awarded. This means the lawyers would make an absolute fortune if the touted figures of 10000 applicants claiming £3000 each are to be believed. There seems to be three companies touting for business: Slater Gordon, Attwoods Solicitors and Harcus Sinclair although they may be linked. I am reluctant to sign up for the class action under these terms but wonder what happens to those affected who don’t sign up if there is a settlement. Some advice from Which? would be welcome.

I’m very much in agreement with Nick Doust. Which should be giving advice on which Class Action to join. In fact I’m shocked and very disappointed their advice is nowhere to be seen!!



Thanks. Why has our government not pushed for compensation for the damage caused to the health of citizens of this country?

The big question is who paid who to falsify the code. Someone wrote that code labelled ‘acoustic condition’.

From the article: “The Volkswagen defeat device is arguably the most complex in automotive history,” Levchenko said. Researchers found a less sophisticated circumventing ploy for the Fiat 500X. That car’s onboard computer simply allows its emissions-curbing system to run for the first 26 minutes and 40 seconds after the engine starts—roughly the duration of many emissions tests. Researchers note that for both Volkswagen and Fiat, the vehicles’ Engine Control Unit is manufactured by automotive component giant Robert Bosch. Car manufacturers then enable the code by entering specific parameters.”

It will be interesting to find out what more is uncovered.

I have received this email from Which?
In September 2015 a scandal broke out. Volkswagen admitted cheating official car pollution tests that affected 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide. Since then over 110,000 people like you have supported our campaign to Come Clean on Fuel Claims.

Rigging the tests enabled VW to hide the fact that its diesel cars produce pollution up to 40 times the legal limit in the US. We called on the government to not let VW off the hook.

With your help, we’ve convinced the government to introduce a new car tests that recreate a real-world mix of driving environments, alongside a tough new laboratory test, to clean up air in our towns and cities.

We’ll keep a close eye on the government to make sure these test are rolled out effectively, but for now our work on fuel claims will come to a close. Find out more about how you’ve helped us drive out dodgy fuel claims over the past couple of years.

There is a link to this page: https://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/car-fuel-tests-trust/vw-volkswagen-new-emission-tests/?utm_source=whichcouk&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=vwclose281117

I’m sure that Which? has made a useful contribution but the I believed that the new RDE testing is European and the WLTP testing is worldwide. Which? has been publishing more realistic fuel economy figures for years, albeit only for a restricted range of cars. I suspect this may still be needed in the future.