/ Motoring

Did VW know all along about diesel emissions problems?

VW logo

Another day, another big blow to the reputation of Volkswagen… and another big disappointment for VW drivers.

As the morning papers tell it, the former chief executive of VW, Martin Winterkorn, was told about problems with diesel emissions tests in May 2014 and not when the scandal broke last October. This is a significant departure from the company’s previous defence that only a small group of its engineers knew about the so-called defeat devices used in VW diesel cars.

The car maker said in a statement to a shareholder lawsuit in Germany that a memo was sent to then CEO Martin Winterkorn in 2014 about a US emissions study. The study questioned whether VW diesel cars were emitting more in real-world driving than in official government tests. However, the issue ‘did not initially receive particular attention at the management levels’. VW added:

‘Whether and to which extent Mr Winterkorn took notice of this memo at that time is not documented.’

16 months of inaction

That’s 16 months in which action could have been taken and 16 months in which it wasn’t. Instead it took an in-depth investigation by the US Environmental Protection Agency for Volkswagen bosses to come clean about their defeat device. VW has had countless chances to do the right thing and its customers deserve better.

Over a million VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat owners have been left waiting for the roll-out of a fix that was expected to begin in January this year, but many have yet to hear any updates on when this will now happen. Plus, VW is still not offering compensation for UK owners – even though US owners are receiving up to $1,000. It’s not good enough.

Government investigation into emissions scandal

The Government has been conducting an investigation into the impact of the defeat device and whether it broke UK and EU laws. It’s expected to report on its findings and conclusions in the spring, but no one is quite sure how it’s going and what to expect from it. No clear timetable has been set and no information has been published about its progress, leaving consumers in the dark.

The Transport Select Committee rightly points out that consumer trust has been broken by this scandal and the longer it drags on and the longer VW drivers are expected to drive affected vehicles without knowing what the next steps will be, the more damage will be done.

Nearly 105,000 people support our Come Clean on Fuel Claims campaign, which calls for more stringent emissions and fuel economy tests and redress for those affected by Volkswagen’s actions. We think it’s unacceptable that drivers are still uncertain as to how this scandal will impact their vehicles and what support and redress they can expect from Volkswagen and the Government.

There’s a clear need for the Government to speed up its investigation, ensure VW’s properly held to account and to revise emissions tests so that this never happens again. Are you with us?

Comments
Guest
JeffS says:
22 April 2016

For VW et al to be be able to lie-to/defraud Governments, Regulatory Agencies and Customers with almost total impunity sets a most dangerous precedent. Sadly I suspect Cameron has got himself hopelessly compromised over the EU referendum (which was only a shabby little manouevre to buy-off his Tory critics some years ago) and now he feels unable to “rock the boat”, especially with Germany!

Guest
Billy37 says:
22 April 2016

Seems nothing short of a Class Action will shift VW from their Stance saying America has a different Regulatory Framework so they can be treated differently.
Don’t count on the government providing a solution on compensation – not with David Cameron being the Front Man – having five Star membership of the Club and being one of Angela’s best mates.
In two months time the EU Car Industry will be at the front of the queue when it comes to settling the New Trade Deals. Just Remember this Mis Selling before any Hasty / Rash Trade Agreements.

Guest
Andrew Stumpf says:
22 April 2016

Exemplary action is required to stop the illegal and unethical activity that has become the norm in the private sector. Direct and indirect profits should be forfeit ( through PoCA) on top of fines and compensation which should be to customers and the Government. In the latter case to pay for the environmental and social consequences of their action.