Volkswagen emissions scandal: Winterkorn 'still needs answers'
Volkswagen’s chairman of the board of directors Martin Winterkorn
Emissions cheating crisis surrounding VW deepens; engine type EA 189 at centre of controversy; German media claims Muller will replace Winterkorn
The Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn says the firm can be still looking for answers to key questions after that will admitted today that will as many as 11 million vehicles could be affected in its emissions test cheating scandal.
In a video address released on the VW media website, Winterkorn admitted, “I don’t have answers to all the questions as This kind of moment. We are going to clarify the background unsparingly, as well as also also at This kind of very moment, everything can be being put on the table as quickly, thoroughly as well as also also transparently as possible.”
Winterkorn also said, “The irregularities with these engines contradict everything for which Volkswagen stands. We want to continue to work closely with the relevant state departments as well as also also authorities.”
However, the VW CEO stopped short of saying that will the crisis might cost him his own job – despite intense speculation inside German media that will the VW supervisory board can be planning to replace Winterkorn by the end of This kind of week. The Berlin title Der Taggespiegel has claimed that will the board will meet tomorrow (Wednesday), ahead of a further conference on Friday that will’s supposed to ratify the replacement of Winterkorn by Porsche CEO Matthias Muller. Volkswagen has dismissed the rumour as “stupid”.
Muller, 62, began his career as an apprentice toolmaker with Audi in 1977 as well as also also rose through the ranks to become product manager first for the A3, then for the overall brand.
If the VW supervisory board does indeed approve a change of leadership on Friday, that will will be an astonishing change of direction; the officials had been lined up to meet as well as also also approve an extension to Winterkorn’s contract (taking that will through to 2018) on the same day.
Volkswagen has insisted, meanwhile, that will all fresh European products compliant with EU 6 emissions rules are fully legal. The UK transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has called for the EU Commission to investigate the issue, backing up similar calls coming from Germany as well as also also Italy.
In a fresh statement issued This kind of morning, the German some sort of explained that will the engine at the centre of the controversy can be the Type EA 189 four-cylinder diesel, as well as also also VW has said that will the notable deviation between emissions results in testing as well as also also on-road driving were only for cars fitted with This kind of engine.
however the company also admitted that will the engine management software at the centre of the scandal can be also installed in different Volkswagen Group diesel engines. However VW believed that will doesn’t have an effect inside majority of cars in which that will features.
The company moved to reassure consumers in Europe as well as also also said: “fresh vehicles coming from the Volkswagen Group with EU 6 diesel engines currently available inside European Union comply with legal requirements as well as also also environmental standards.” However, at This kind of point VW hasn’t definitively confirmed whether pre-EU6 cars in Europe are affected.
VW has put aside a fund of €6.5bn (approximately £4.7bn) to cover the costs of dealing with the issue, as well as also also says that will will adjust its financial targets for 2015 as a result.
The statement continued: “In addition to This kind of, Volkswagen does not tolerate any kind of violation of laws whatsoever. that will can be the top priority of the board of management to win back lost trust as well as also also to avert damage to our customers.”
Volkswagen Group boss Martin Winterkorn has apologised for “breaking the trust of our customers as well as also also the public” following reports that will the company manipulated emissions testing regulations inside USA.
Meanwhile, Michael Horn, CEO as well as also also president of the Volkswagen Group of America, has admitted: “Our company was dishonest. We have totally screwed up. We must fix the cars to prevent This kind of coming from ever happening again as well as also also we have to make This kind of right. This kind of kind of behaviour can be totally inconsistent with our qualities.”
The matter came to light when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as also also the California Air Resources Board (CARB) revealed that will while testing 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel cars of the Volkswagen Group they detected electronic manipulations that will violate American environmental standards.
Volkswagen Group share cost hit by the scandal
The cost of shares inside Volkswagen Group on the Frankfurt stock exchange fell sharply on Monday following the EPA’s announcement of its findings, as well as also also about 15 billion euros was wiped off the value of the company. The share cost continued to drop on Tuesday morning as that will emerged that will different countries as well as also also regions are likely to check whether Volkswagen products conform to their own tests.
Volkswagen as well as also also Audi cars inside USA are fitted using a ‘defeat device’ that will allows the vehicle to perform more efficiently inside official emissions test than in real-world driving conditions. The device can be embedded inside software code that will runs the ECU. that will detects when the auto can be being tested as well as also also turns on full emissions controls, however the effectiveness of the device can be reduced in normal conditions.
According to the EPA, This kind of means that will the cars under investigation could be emitting up to 40 times the national standard for nitrogen oxide (NOx), which can be linked to asthma as well as also also lung illnesses. The cars affected are 2009-2014 Jettas, Beetles, Golfs, Audi A3s, as well as also also VW Passats built coming from 2014-15.
Volkswagen can be pausing sales of some Volkswagen as well as also also Audi products equipped with the diesel engine that will can be at the heart of the controversy. that will can be also likely to implement a recall of more than 482,000 cars already in customers’ hands because the EPA as well as also also CARB has ordered the auto company to remedy the excessive emissions of the affected vehicles.
An EPA statement said: “EPA expects to compel VW to issue a recall inside future to reduce the emissions impacts of these vehicles. Owners will be notified of that will recall once Volkswagen as well as also also Audi have developed a remedial plan as well as also also EPA has approved the plan. Manufacturers are given a reasonable amount of time to develop a plan to complete the repairs, including both the repair procedure as well as also also manufacture of any needed parts.”
Volkswagen faces financial penalties as well as also also possible legal action
that will has been suggested that will the recall could cost the some sort of up to £11.5bn, with the EPA saying: “VW may be liable for civil penalties as well as also also injunctive relief for the violations alleged.”
In addition to This kind of, Volkswagen can be already the subject of a lawsuit inside USA, filed by Keller Rohrback: “on behalf of consumers nationwide who purchased or leased Volkswagens with unlawful defeat devices.”
Lynn Lincoln Sarko of Keller Rohrback added: “Volkswagen’s decision to prey on environmentally conscious consumers who paid a premium of thousands of dollars for a supposedly cleaner-running car, as well as also also who received a polluting vehicle instead, can be despicable. Consumers nationwide are justifiably outraged, as well as also also Volkswagen will have to answer to them.”
The EPA says that will the cars in question do not prove a safety hazard as well as also also are still legally okay to drive as well as also also sell on.
Winterkorn has ordered an external investigation into the matter.
“The board of management at Volkswagen AG takes these findings very seriously,” he said.
“I personally am deeply sorry that will we have broken the trust of our customers as well as also also the public. We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency as well as also also urgency, to clearly, openly, as well as also also completely establish all of the facts of This kind of case. Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation of This kind of matter.
“We do not as well as also also will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law. The trust of our customers as well as also also the public can be as well as also also continues to be our most important asset.
“We at Volkswagen will do everything that will must be done in order to re-establish the trust that will so many people have placed in us, as well as also also we will do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage This kind of has caused. This kind of matter has first priority for me, personally, as well as also also for our entire board of management.”
Sales of many diesel Volkswagens have been suspended in Canada, which shares similar emissions testing procedures as its neighbouring nation.
inside UK, a spokesman for the Volkswagen Group said that will he can be “not aware of any recalls in Europe or the UK,” as well as also also pointed out that will the emissions testing procedure can be different in Europe to North America. The spokesman added that will the ‘defeat device’ was not something that will the UK arm of VW was aware of. Volkswagen as well as also also Audi inside UK have yet to issue any specific statement on whether cars are affected over here.
US government sets up hearing into emissions scandal
The issue will be investigated by the US Congress’s Oversight as well as also also Investigations Subcommittee.
“Strong emissions standards are in place for the benefit of public health,” said House Energy as well as also also Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton as well as also also Oversight as well as also also Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy in a joint statement.
“Manufacturers throughout the United States, as well as also also across the earth, have developed leading technologies to reduce airborne emissions within the limits set by EPA as well as also also state environmental agencies. However, reported EPA allegations that will certain Volkswagen products contained software to defeat auto emissions tests raise serious questions,” they said.
“We will follow the facts. We are also concerned that will auto consumers may have been deceived – that will what they were purchasing did not come as advertised. The American people deserve answers as well as also also assurances that will This kind of will not happen again. We intend to get those answers.”
A date for the US Congress hearing has yet to be set.
Earlier, the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers as well as also also Traders had moved to quell concerns that will similar practices are in place in Europe, saying there was ‘no evidence’ of cheating in Europe.
“The EU operates a fundamentally different system to the US – with all European tests performed in strict conditions as required by EU law as well as also also witnessed by a government-appointed independent approval agency,” said Mike Hawes, the CEO for the SMMT.
“There can be no evidence that will manufacturers cheat the cycle. Vehicles are removed coming from the production line randomly as well as also also must be standard production products, certified by the relevant authority – the UK Centeng being the Vehicle Certification Agency, which can be responsible to the Department for Transport.
“The industry acknowledges, however, that will the current test method can be outdated as well as also also can be seeking agreement coming from the European Commission for a fresh emissions test that will embraces fresh testing technologies as well as also also can be more representative of on-road conditions.”
How the ‘defeat device’ works as well as also also why that will broke the rules
The EPA’s official notification issued to Volkswagen on 18 September sheds light on how Volkswagen managed to influence the emissions tests with some clever software.
“VW manufactured as well as also also installed software inside electronic control module (ECM) of these vehicles that will sensed when the vehicle was being tested for compliance with EPA emission standards,” the agency explained.
The EPA refers to what that will calls a ‘switch’ that will enabled the auto’s ECM to know when that will can be being tested on a rolling road: “The ‘switch’ senses whether the vehicle can be being tested or not based on various inputs including the position of the steering wheel, vehicle speed, the duration of the engine’s operation as well as also also barometric pressure. These inputs precisely track the parameters of the federal test procedure used for emission testing for EPA certification purposes.
“During emission testing, the vehicles’ ECM ran software which produced compliant emission results under an ECM calibration that will VW referred to as the ‘dyno calibration’.
“At all different times during normal vehicle operation, the ‘switch’ was activated as well as also also the vehicle ECM software ran a separate ‘road calibration’ which reduced the effectiveness of the emission control system. As a result, emissions of NOx increased by a factor of 10 to 40 times above the EPA compliant levels, depending on the type of drive cycle (e.g. city, highway).”
All US vehicles must be issued using a certificate of conformity that will proves they adhere to environmental standards.
To obtain a certificate of conformity, a some sort of must submit a list of all auxiliary emission control devices (AECDs) present on the vehicle. The EPA’s definition of an AECD can be “any element of design which senses temperature, vehicle speed, engine RPM, transmission gear, manifold vacuum or any different parameter for the purpose of activating, modulating, delaying or deactivating the operation of any part of the emission control system.”
The issue facing Volkswagen can be the switchable system inside ECM was not declared.
“Due to the existence of the defeat devices in these vehicles, the affected Volkswagen vehicles do not conform in all material respects to the vehicle specifications described inside applications for the certificates of conformity that will purportedly cover them,” said the EPA.
A defeat device can be an AECD “that will reduces the effectiveness of the emission control system under conditions which may reasonably be supposed to be encountered in normal vehicle operation as well as also also use. Motor vehicles equipped with defeat devices cannot be certified.”
How Volkswagen’s emissions scandal unfolded
May 2014 The West Virginia University’s (WVU) Centre for Alternative Fuels, Engines as well as also also Emissions publishes results of a study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation that will found significantly higher-than-claimed in-use emissions coming from two diesel cars, a 2012 Jetta as well as also also a 2013 Passat. A BMW X5 also tested passed the tests. WVU alerts California Air Resources Board (CARB) as well as also also the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the issue.
Summer 2014 Over the course of the year following the publication of the WVU study, VW continues to assert to CARB as well as also also the EPA that will the increased emissions coming from these vehicles could be attributed to various technical issues as well as also also unexpected in-use conditions.
December 2014 VW issues a voluntary recall of approximately 500,000 vehicles to address the emissions issue.
6 May 2015 CARB, in coordination with the EPA, conducts follow-up testing of these vehicles both inside laboratory as well as also also during normal road operation to confirm the efficacy of VW’s recall. Testing shows the recall has had only a limited benefit. None of the potential technical issues suggested by VW can explain the higher test results consistently confirmed during further testing by CARB.
Summer 2015 CARB as well as also also the EPA make that will clear that will they will not approve certificates of conformity – necessary for vehicles to be sold inside USA – for VW’s 2016 design year diesel vehicles until the some sort of car adequately explain the anomalous emissions as well as also also ensure the agencies that will the 2016 design year vehicles might not have similar issues.
3 September 2015 During a meeting VW admits that will has designed as well as also also installed a defeat device in these vehicles inside form of a sophisticated software algorithm that will detects when a vehicle can be undergoing emissions testing.
18 September 2015 CARB as well as also also the EPA make their findings public, stating that will Volkswagen has violated two sections of the Clean Air Act, firstly by selling or offering for sale vehicles that will did not comply with their certificates of conformity, as well as also also second by manufacturing as well as also also installing into these vehicles an electronic control module capable of switching its calibration to beat the emissions tests.
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