/ Motoring

Big questions the Government needs to answer on VW

VW red logo

Seven months on since VW’s emissions scandal came to light, UK consumers are being left in the dark. So today I was in front of the Parliament’s Transport Select Committee and called on the Government to take urgent action.

It’s completely unacceptable that VW customers are still none the wiser on what the fix will be, what the impact will be on their car, and therefore whether they’re entitled to compensation.

Without this information, no one knows if they can bring a legal claim against VW.

Not only are our campaign supporters angry, VW customers feel conned.

Angry and rightly so

In our survey of Which? campaign supporters over the weekend, 94% of nearly 30,000 people told us that car manufacturers are not being fair to UK consumers. And three quarters of those said the Government must now take action against VW.

And they’re right too. During today’s Transport Select Committee, I pressed the Government to take urgent and immediate action.

Even though there has been further testing by the Government and VW, those impacted by the scandal are still none the wiser. Assuming it has the answers to our questions, the Government must stop sitting on any evidence that can help fully inform VW owners.

Important questions

Why won’t the Government publish the full results of all of its testing, for each vehicle, including the detailed methodology? Why won’t it reveal whether there are any discrepancies between their results and the manufacturers’ including whether any vehicles tested breached the lawful emissions limits?

Was the defeat device identified by the Government in the Skoda vehicle a prohibited defeat device and VW therefore broke the law?

What work has the Government done to verify the effectiveness of the fix to the VW defeat device and does it affect the performance, fuel economy or emissions of the vehicles?

These are all important questions, and are ones I pressed for the Secretary of State for Transport to answer.

Action from the Government

It’s been quite a different story in the US. The US Government acted quickly to hold VW to account. Yet in the UK progress to date has been woefully slow.

And separate to the legal debate about compensation claims, people simply cannot understand why VW has offered US consumers a goodwill payment whilst refusing to provide this for UK customers affected by the very same issue.

The Transport Secretary must now intervene and stand up for UK consumers. Are you with me?

Update 15 July – Transport Committee report

Following an inquiry into the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the Transport Select Committee today said Volkswagen has been deeply unfair to European customers by only offering significant compensation to US owners.

The report also criticises the Government for being far too slow to act, and says it should investigate and consider prosecuting Volkswagen for the use of defeat devices in its vehicles. The Committee has called upon the Department for Transport to ensure that car owners are not out of pocket in any way as a result of the emissions scandal or Volkswagen’s fixes to affected vehicles.

The report comes off the back of our calls for action from the UK government. Earlier in the year, Richard Lloyd called for the Government to stand up for UK consumers and take action when giving evidence to the Committee’s inquiry. He also shared findings from our investigations on fuel emissions and views from our affected supporters.

Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Louise Ellman MP, today said:

‘Volkswagen Group has acted cynically to cheat emissions tests which exist solely to protect human health. Volkswagen’s evidence to us was just not credible but the Government has lacked the will to hold VW accountable for its actions. There is a real danger that VW will be able to get away with cheating emissions tests in Europe if regulators do not act.

‘Vehicle owners have been refused goodwill payments. That is despite VW inflicting a great deal of uncertainty on its own customers along with the prospect of declining residual values and the inconvenience of having to undergo repairs.’

Alex Neill, Which? Director of Policy and Campaigns said:

‘Today’s findings from the Transport Committee echo what UK consumers have been saying since the scandal was first uncovered. VW drivers have been treated unfairly and the Department of Transport has not done enough to hold VW to account.

‘The lack of action sends a message that companies who employ underhand tactics can get away with it. The new Transport Secretary must urgently get to grips with this issue and ensure that UK customers are treated fairly.’

If you agree that the Transport Secretary must urgently take action, please sign our petition.

Dave Cross says:
2 January 2017

i am loathe to go through with this update as i don’t want my 170bhp yeti to be declawed and made toothless


Dont blame you Dave, I would hesitate too , your bhp is identical to my very old Ford ST 170 and its quite nippy , by VW conforming to the law they are at the same time changing the power curve of your engine to a “non ideal ” curve to satisfy the EU.

John Wilby says:
9 January 2017

I’ve just been contacted by a no win no fee company inviting me to join a group claim for compensation for the vehicle emission scandal affecting my VW Jetta. They say the fee is 30% of any compensation plus the cost of distributing the settlement. They expect a successful claim to be “only a few thousand” and that those who sign up would be excluded from accepting alternative forms of compensation from VW – e.g. discount on a new car.

Paul E says:
3 January 2017

Had the emission upgrade carrid out on my 2014 2.0l Tiguan bluemotion DSG on 13th December 2016, as as soon as drove noticed a power lag about 1500 rpm. If put food down there was a distinct delay then changed down followed by increase in power, slightly jerky. Currently in debate with garage.

Clive Grenyer says:
7 January 2017

Had exactly the same problem. On first return the car was undriveable, and was collected by the garage and returned with a bland apology and no explanation. Same problem now that Paul E has. Intermittent and complies with the law that says that no intermittent fault will occur when a garage employee is in the car. Garage (VW main dealer) will not debate further.

Barry D says:
21 January 2017

that does not sound good at all. If you haven’t had it sorted yet then i would definitely be seeking legal advice!!! hope you get/had it sorted.

E.V.Perry says:
3 January 2017

Had my Golf “fixed” on the 30th Dec. and already have noted a 10% loss in m.p.g. despite assurances that this would not occur! Can we believe anything VW tell us? Another problem seems to be the poor resale value.

Michael says:
6 January 2017

Having read the information from VW, they assured us, for what it was worth, that the fix would not affect lots of things but no mention of fuel consumption. It is now appears that it is indeed fuel consumption that is affected. Since the main reason for buying a diesel was for the lower fuel consumption, I feel cheated and demand some financial compensation. Fortunately I have ignored all requests from VW to take my car for modification and will continue to do so until fair compensation is paid. If everyone did the same they would soon change their tune. Although nothing has been said, I am sure they are required to have modified a certain percentage of cars in a defined period of time. It is VW’s problem not mine.

anon says:
9 January 2017

Check with your insurer before having this ‘work’ done. I did and my insurer in not interested saying that they treat this as a ‘recall’ and not a modification. My Skoda is affected and I have no intention whatsoever of letting the grease monkeys loose on it!
For obvious reasons I can’t give my email address dealer retribution etc.


Dont blame you “Anon ” . Going by the posts on Which and on other websites involving cars there are plenty of unhappy car owners who have had the –MOD -I will repeat MOD done . A “recall” is only a word for an ENGINEERING fault in a piece of equipment which has been designed improperly , but thats not the point as the cars have left the manufacturers with the CORRECT performance curve for that engine but due to EU legislation they are being forced legally to alter it not for a better performance but a Worse one. It doesn’t matter how many corporation lawyers try to wriggle out of it this is still a modification and should be challenged in the High Court. Modification = a change to the original build of a component or apparatus by mechanical/electrical/digital means.

catherine hargreaves says:
9 January 2017

took my car in for work on this scam, collected it ,drove approx 6 mile,parked then noticed the passenger backend had been scraped. this was not there when i took it in ,but have no proof.Am really upset by this.

Paul Leahy says:
21 January 2017

As a Skoda owner I’ve been court up in the diesel emission scandal. I knew before I received the letter from Skoda UK, that my car was affected because all the companies under VW use the same engines. I received updates every 6 months or so, saying what they are doing. But I’ve yet to receive any information, as to when my car will be modified. Waiting more than a year for something to be done isn’t good enough and Skoda can’t tell me when it will. I’ve been a loyal customer of them for over 15 years and I’m very disappointed at their lack of action.

mick says:
28 January 2017

i have an old 06 vw passat 19 diesel it does 52 mpg on short trips & 62 on long trips & nether been to the garage for any repairs now got 139,000 , miles ,

MICK says:
1 February 2017


Steve Putman says:
5 February 2017

I owned a rather good silver Skoda Octavia 2.2 diesel until the news erupted regarding the fuel mpg scam. I traded in my Octavia for a Mazda 3 SkyActiv 2.2 diesel and contacted both Skoda and Volkswagen to ask for compensation of £1000.00 which was the depreciation in the trade-in value caused by the Ŝkoda/VW diesel cheat scam, but they refused to pay me anything.

Chris Harvey-Jones. says:
10 February 2017

I had a VW Tiguan with a “Naughty” diesel engine. Like a Muppet, In good faith, I changed it for a new one. Oh dear, the published mpg figures are at best 25% adrift and 38% worst case scenario. This means a fuel extra cost of £399per year to £949per year. So yet again VW have pulled a “Fast one” I will not ever buy or reccomend a VW again.

Robin Cooke says:
15 February 2017

Just like my Renault Espace2.2dci cracking car but never got better than 32mpg (they claimed it would do 44)


I got 38-40 on mixed driving and nearly 44 on trips to Devon. 2004 version.

Steve Martin, (no not that one) says:
13 February 2017

Collected a 6 month old Vw Touran from dealer with the celebrated low emission 1.6 diesel BLUEMOTION engine the DAY BEFORE the news of the scandal become public…..love the car but absolutely furious to think the amount of nitrous oxide emissions could be as much as 40 times the norm…..not very good is it!! Ps still waiting for a fix, although I’ve received two letters telling me they are working on a solution….watch this space.


Well this latest news wont cheer up UK VW owners . VW has received preliminary approval from a US Federal Judge for a 1.2 BILLION DOLLAR payout to fix or buy back 80,000 cars effected by the emissions scandal -final ruling -May -quote- this settlement marks an important milestone in VW,s efforts to—-MAKE THINGS RIGHT in the United States -attorney representing VW -Robert Giuffra + 25 BILLION DOLLARS to make things right with the US Government US States and DEALERS AND settle individual claims from car owners . So if I get this right not only will car owners get a set amount of compensation ,they will also get additional compensation from legal action taken against VW involved in Class Action suites and could get more depending on individual State Laws , don’t all rush to the US Embassy to apply for US citizenship now . And good old Britain ?

Erik Wilson says:
16 February 2017

My 1.6 Golf TDi has recently had the VW fix for the emissions problem. Before the fix I generally got a minimum of 50 to the gallon around town and around 60 on a long run. (I even managed 81 to the gallon on a 40 mile trip once!) It has barely gone over 48 to the gallon since the adjustment and never over 50.


Prior to the modification I was achieving around 60 on a long run, though I would be hard pressed to manage 50 round town. I have not had the opportunity to do a long run since the modification but I have certainly achieved over 50 mpg once the engine is up to normal temperature. It might be worth having the garage look at your car, Erik. I was told that any problems would be sorted out free of charge.


Generally, modern small family cars are achieving excellent fuel economy compared with just a few years ago. Fuel prices are an important part of the cost of living indices and have been rising again recently thus raising the inflation rate. Looking at fuel prices over the last ten years gives the impression of a large increase in cost, but should the index price not be moderated by the mileage gains so that the cost per mile is the measured unit rather than the price per litre?


I have been thinking in terms of cost per mile for many years, probably because of mileage allowance from my employer. I think most people are more interested in their own expenditure than cost of living indices.

Ms E Taylor says:
5 March 2017

I was informed by VW in 2015 that all cars affected by the emissions scandal including my own car would be recalled and rectified by Dec 2016. Despite writing to them last Oct asking why my car had not been called in for rectification I was told in a letter that my car was perfectly roadworthy which I already knew as that is not what is in question and that the problem would be sorted by Dec 2016 for all cars affected. I have heard nothing further and am still waiting!! We are now in March 2017 and no further forward. They also said in their letter that they would not be considering compensation which I asked for!!! This whole problem is due to a major deception at manufacture and they should not be allowed to get away with it. We all bought our cars in good faith and should not have to be inconvenienced as a result of this deception. In America they won’t put up with it and have I believe been compensated or are going to be -why should we be any different we still all bought our cars just the same. Shame on this company they should value their customers more. After all there are plenty of different cars on the market to choose from .I think the Ombudsman should take up this case now for all concerned.

Norma Parker says:
5 March 2017

I geniunely feel very let down by Volkswagen (not that they’ll care) my car was a present for a special birthday! Bought diesel instead of petrol because at the time diesel was supposed to be most environmentally friendly! Then find out they’re cheats!!

Patrick Taylor says:
9 March 2017

“The Netherlands is to lead a joint EU enforcement action against Volkswagen to ensure European customers affected by the car-maker’s emissions scandal are compensated like their US counterparts.”



No-one seems to be concerned about the effects that the excessive pollution caused by the affected cars has had on the population of this country. I would like to see VW making a generous contribution to our NHS. We really need to think about people other than ourselves.


Of course we are concerned, and of course we think about other people. Tinkering with vehicle emissions will help, but that only applies to new vehicles. We have a huge legacy of older vehicles that will emit far more pollutants than current VWs. If we really want to reduce pollution, instead of pillorying VW, we should be restricting the amount of polluting vehicles allowed into our towns and cities, sitting in jams and damaging all people around, including the drivers.

VW should be penalised where they have broken regulations – compensation for drivers who may have lost money, and the government who may have lost tax revenue. If they pollute more than regulations allow they should also be fined. I have not, as yet, seen official figures for “corrected” cars on which compensation should be based. Perhaps Which? could dig them out and publish them?


To my mind, the ‘regulation’ is that in a civilised society we require honesty from people, companies and other organisations including government. Cheating must be punished and if we condone it then there is an incentive to cheat again.

I don’t disagree about cutting down pollution in towns and cities but that is a separate issue and one we have agreed on in other discussions.

Pickard says:
18 March 2017

Why is it so acceptable if I were to break the law the UK Government comes down with a ton of bricks… whereas treats a Corporate with already proven widespread & blatant abuse with a fireside chat find & acting in the public’s interest slower than an asmatic snail crossing a line of salt.

Given most are now ‘fly-by-wire’ operated, I suggest the transport body responsible for emissions enforcement:
– use a computer program + robotics to test drive all new cars to simulate, urban stop start, rural, motorway (70mph) & autobahn (100mph cruising)
– using their own fill to fill fuel tank of a prescribed same quality to measure usage
– during cold (-5 to zero C), mild (10 to 15C) & warm (30 to 35C) temperatures
– during both wet & dry conditions
– retest the above 6 months after car launch from a production model ordered without the manufacturers knowledge. If the combined results differ by more than 5%, the manufacturer to refund 10% of the purchase price to every buyer & VED band changed


Pickard – First it has to be established that a law has been broken and I believe there is no certainty of that.

Gerald says:
24 March 2017

I drive my partners VW 1.6 Turbo Diesel Auto Touran.
On regular runs to Coventry from Poole in Dorset before the upgrade I regularly averaged 50 mpg
Since the upgrade I have not been able to improve on 45 mpg.
Also don’t think the engine is not as smooth.


Presumably the 45 mpg is what the performance should have been from new if there had not been some naughty work on the engine which has now been rectified.

dedmondf@gmail.com says:
3 April 2017

My 2011 Golf Deisel is not operating anything like it was before the correction to the emission dupe. Car sometimes runs with slight jutter. the performance seems to be effected and the consumption is different. I’m going to test this myself. The first diagnostics test showed something and I was advised not to buy deisel at Supermarkets . After the econd diagnostic test VW deny there was a problem in the first test. They are still investigating but only the owner knows that the car is not as it was.

Alan Griffiths says:
13 April 2017

Our Seat 1.6 Auto diesel, had the software upgrade installed 6th March. Before the upgrade our car was a delight to drive, very smooth gear change, no problems at all, we where under the impression that we had to get the upgrade done by law because the letter Seat sent us had The Department for Transport logo on the top.
Now our car has been ruined, there are fumes inside the car,( I thought the window was down), the gear change (in the low gears) is now far from smooth, there is a rattle on the engine and the fans are comeing on a lot. I saw an article in The Guardian newspaper, a whistle blower an ex VW Service Manager said he would advise not to have the upgrade fitted, and if you have had it fitted to get it reversed and get the engine remapped. The Department for Transport has said the upgrade produces 3 time more diesel particulates, causing the EGR valve to clog up quicker, and it ruins the DPF filter, the former costs over 1000 pounds to change, the DPF filter is also very expensive. The VW group have on some occasions told the customer who’s EGR valves have been ruined by the fix they will only have to pay 10% of the repair cost. Seat are playing games with me, not contacting me when they say they will, left me on hold for half an hour, absolutely disgusting service. All I want is for the upgrade to be removed, Stoneacre Chesterfield say this is impossible, Iam now left with a car that is unreliable and could fail at any time, thanks to the upgrade.


Alan , thanks for your post and providing -IMHO significant information not previously posted on Which,s website I understand what you are saying and would like to hear from anybody in the industry who can either collaborate this information or provide a rebuttal but I will need the rebuttal to be in engineering terms of why they think Alan,s post is not correct, just saying no is not good enough, I want a detailed response.

Pete Stamp says:
29 June 2017

I received a letter yesterday (28/6/2017) from Skoda UK regarding EA189 NOx emissions service action.
I booked an appointment then belatedly did some research on line.

I have today cancelled the appointment after reading the feedback from other customers experiences on a couple of forums.
There are some real horror stories regarding performance; – ‘pinking’ at low rpm, worse fuel economy, poor torque, engine warning lights and DPF filter and EGR problems (both very expensive items).

I was asked by the garage in question to sign a letter declining the service action – which I declined to do until I do some more research.
Are there any other Skoda Fabia 1.6 litre owners with feedback on post service action (good or bad)?


BBC “Watchdog” programme last week (12/07/17) had stories about people having problems with their vehicles after having VW’s “service action”. Many complaints were about vehicles going into “limp-home” mode which can be quite worrying. Best advice seems to be to ignore the service action altogether.

RALFE says:
19 July 2017

Just had my Fabia 1.6 (105) done and I now suffer from the engine running on after ignition turn off.

The dealer also tried to force a ‘free’ safety inspection on me. Hey, I’ve had experience of that con before. I needed new tyres – they lasted another 12 months and I was told there was still some wear in them when replaced. Also told my brake discs were warped and it could become dangerous – frightening tactics or what. Still no brake disc symptoms and an independent check said ‘not to worry about it.’
I could have had all that work carried out for snip in excess of £500 – what a con!


Unless you have a juddering movement when the brakes are applied you dont have “warped ” discs or a gripping/releasing feeling Ralfe . While a car engine can run on due to many faults depending on whether its diesel or petrol as your only occurred when it was “re-tuned ” then it points to a timing fault in the ignition/fuel sequence . Dont go back to him get an independent garage,s advice and make sure its a reputable one.


Ralfe – Turning off the key on a diesel allows an electrically-operated valve to cut off the fuel supply and running on will be due to the valve sticking. It’s important to have the problem sorted out before you cannot stop the engine unless you stall it. This would be coincidence rather than related to the emissions modifications.

My Golf 1.6 had a safety check when the emissions modifications were done and I was told that the rear shock absorbers were weeping but they could be replaced when the car was serviced a couple of months later. I had the MOT done by an independent garage and asked them to look at the shock absorbers. There was no sign of leakage by then and my garage said that that the VW dealer had probably simulated leakage with the help of a couple of squirts of WD40. The ‘run out’ on your brakes may exceed normal limits without a problem being obvious, but I would follow Duncan’s advice and have an independent garage check the brakes.

John Howells says:
6 August 2017

Just had a letter from Director of Audi UK (A. Doyle). Says Audi will look after customers for 24 months if they have failures of the EGR, fuel injection or emissions following software changes (EA 189). This tells me VW already are seeing problems and VW / Audi are just covering their backs. It is about time they paid up as they have done in the USA. Our government is doing nothing as more environmental restrictions on diesel owners take place. My local Audi garage offered me a car cleaning kit as a ‘good will’ gesture. I refused it.