VW emissions scandal blog: UK boss faces MP questions

Friday, October 28th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

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VW’s UK boss Paul Willis answering questions coming from the transport select committee

VW’s UK boss Paul Willis answers questions coming from the transport select committee today

1739hrs – We’re going to wrap up here. in which was an interesting session, with some sharp questioning coming from MPs as well as a stern defence coming from Willis.

The key revelations appear to be:

Around 400,000 UK cars need injector replacement at worst; the extra tank in which’s required in some American vehicles won’t be needed here.

There are increasingly wide calls for the official test procedure to be modernised sooner rather than later.

VW’s defeat device did influence the NOx emissions of cars on UK roads – which means in which was operational during at least some NEDC EU tests.

1733hrs – Interesting to see MPs criticising Willis, since his departure coming from the meeting, for continually prefixing his answers with the phrase, “I’m not an engineer…”

Yet when McLoughlin can be asked if the Department for Transport has done any physical checks on vehicles, he replies, “I’m going to risk your wrath here by saying in which, although I’m not an engineer…”.

Laughter breaks out inside the room, coming from the panel as well as the witness desk; clearly in which’s funny if an MP says in which line, although not a car company boss.

1731hrs – McLoughlin says there are some car companies who have not yet responded to letters asking them to reassure the Government in which they don’t have defeat devices fitted to any of their vehicles.

He says they’ve got until the end of the month to respond. although he adds, “These are reputable companies, inside the main. We have an enviable record on car production in in which country, as well as on engine production.”

1722hrs – Willis as well as Hawes have today left the room. The Minister for Transport Patrick McLoughlin can be today answering questions.

He says he was first aware of the dieselgate problem on the weekend of 18th September. He says he believes VW has behaved “in an appalling way”.

1720hrs – Hawes adds in which the forthcoming real-world emissions standards will help to rebuild confidence.

“We will ensure in which in which real-world driving emissions regulation will be delivering real-world emissions betterment,” he says, “as well as the investment in those technologies will continue to improve. Customers can be assured in which the vehicles they buy will remain fit for purpose as well as will deliver the reliability, safety as well as emissions performance they expect.”

1718hrs – Mike Hawes says he’s not sure if the motor industry has been definitely hurt by the scandal.

“in which could be premature to say in which the reputation of the motor industry has been damaged by in which,” he says. “The industry can be doing a lot to address air quality issues, as well as we will continue to make significant investments to make sure those issues are addressed. in which issue around regulation as well as its impact inside the real world can be one in which can be being addressed as well as has the full support of the industry.”

1715hrs – Willis can be asked if there was a high-level corporate decision to install the cheat device or if he thinks in which was down to a few software engineers.

“in which debate as well as discussion can be pure conjecture,” he says. “I have no idea. I could be guessing. I find in which implausible in which senior people inside the company could have known these issues with the testing regime.”

1714hrs – Willis can be asked if VW will compensate the Government on any money in which was saved in tax by cheat device-equipped vehicles.

“I’m not sure there’s any clear evidence in which the CO2 emissions on these cars can be different inside the real world,” he replies. “We can have a discussion further down the line. The British taxpayer should not be out of pocket. If necessary we will contain the meeting with HMRC.”

1712hrs – Willis denies in which UK cars will need the hardware alterations referred to by VW’s US boss Michael Horn. “My understanding can be in which addition of Urea tanks can be not the solution in Europe,” he says. “There’s a different technical configuration as well as different regulations. in which’s different inside the United States as well as my understanding can be in which the costs will be different too.”

One of the MPs asks how VW plans to look after customers whose cars do need to be recalled, particularly those who are badly inconvenienced by the process. “Where a customer can be inconvenienced or lives a long way coming from the dealer then we will have to give them a loan car, as well as we have to make sure in which all happens with the least inconvenience to our customers.”

Willis also believes cars may not yet take a hit on residual values. One of the MPs asks about the loss of values on cars as well as Willis says, “I think in which’s premature to talk about in which. The newspapers talk a lot about in which although if you look at what happened inside the United States with previous safety issues as well as recalls, there can be evidence in which there was not a loss of value. What I could say can be in which we have to make sure we regain the trust of our customers.”

1705hrs – One of the MPs asks Willis if the cheat device fix will affect customers’ fuel economy. “No, in which’s not the case. The brief the engineers are working to can be in which there cannot be any change inside the miles per gallon,” he says.

“The reason why in which takes so long – as well as I apologise to you as well as our customers – the reason in which can be taking so long can be in which if you have 60 different designs, all 5 brands, all 5 different engines with two different transmissions, in which takes time. in which can be better to be thorough than do in which in haste. in which’s important we take the right time to do in which correctly for our customers.”

1701hrs – Willis can be asked if vehicles with EA189 engines inside the UK contravene the rules on NOx emissions. “According to the law as well as test cycle, currently no,” he replies. He says VW has started out to correct the process by writing to owners as well as telling them how they can check if their car can be affected – by using the VW, Audi, Skoda as well as Seat websites.

1655hrs – Hawes can be being queried about the NEDC test cycle today. He admits the difference between real-world figures as well as the official NEDC figures “could well be up to 30%”, as well as says, “These figures are meant for a comparison process as well as always contain a disclaimer about the real world as well as in which can be for some very sensible comparative reasons.

“The test cycle tests back to the early 1980s as well as the industry recognises in which isn’t fit for purpose. When put vehicle on test cycle, of instance, everything like air-conditioning as well as so forth must be switched off by law as well as in which clearly needs to change.”

“Then there’s the issue of real-world driving conditions – congestion, temperature, load, gradient – all huge as well as all ruled out by the test cycle to get a repeatable cycle.”

Hawes says he believes the more realistic testing cycle will be introduced on a compulsory basis coming from the beginning of 2017.

1653hrs – SMMT boss Mike Hawes can be asked if he’s heard of manufacturers taping up gaps as well as removing spare tyres coming from cars during the NEDC test procedure. “Never in 20 years I have heard of anything like in which,” he says. “If so, the VCA could step in if a vehicle was not being tested in production specification.”

“Never?” checks one of the MPs.

“Never,” confirms Hawes.

1650hrs – Willis tries to turn defence into an attack on the EU’s emissions testing processes.

He says, “If we look at the test regime on emissions, we know in which can be old-fashioned as well as not fit for purpose. I will come to safety although in which point can be key for our consumers. The point can be in which the test regime can be out of date as well as not fit for purpose. We need completely independent tests in which look at all sorts of detail, like Euro NCAP, which uses real-world testing. We need to look at in which.”

One of the MPs retorts, “If we can’t test you on emissions, why can we test you on safety?”

Willis replies, “I understand in which question. We have a duty to public to reassure them in which our cars are safe. There can be no relation to safety with in which issue although we do need to regain trust as well as we will do in which with transparency.”

1648hrs – The grilling continues. One of the MPs asks Willis what car he drives.

“I drive a Golf GTE, my son drives an Audi A1 as well as my wife drives an Audi Q5,” he answers. “Diesel?” asks the MP. “My wife as well as son? Yes. I drive a hybrid,” says Willis.

1642hrs – Willis does indeed appear to be stating in which the VW cheat device software did affect the EU emissions tests – something in which VW has so far been reluctant to confirm. He adds, “I’m not an engineer, as well as in which seems in which inside the test regime the engine behaved differently to real life via software. The software affected the flow of gas to the engine which affected the results.”

1641hrs – in which needs further scrutiny, although when asked if the cheat device affected the emissions tests of cars inside the UK, Willis appears to indicate in which in which did indeed affect the NOx figures of vehicles tested inside the EU.

“in which seems coming from what I understand – as well as I’m not an engineer – in which the system of gas regulation inside the engine influenced the NOx output in cars on sale inside the UK,” he says. “These cars are type approved inside the UK as well as Germany, of course. One of the questions we have can be how fit for purpose the test regime can be.”

1640hrs – Willis can be being grilled on the delay between knowing of the dieselgate problem as well as taking cars off sale.

He says, “What happened can be in which on the 22nd September we were made aware by Wolfsburg there was a problem with diesel engines. On 28th September we were getting more details as well as I phoned the Transport Secretary as well as told him I could stop selling cars in which were possibly affected until I knew which ones were affected.

“The point can be there were eight days between us knowing there was a problem as well as us taking cars off sale – the reason for in which can be in which the complexity can be so great.”

“As soon as I had the VIN numbers I stopped selling the cars voluntarily. in which took me 4hrs 30mins coming from knowing there were affected cars to taking them off sale.”

1636hrs – VW UK boss Paul Willis has opened his statement with an apology. He says, “I’d like to reiterate again my sincere apologies as well as me as well as my team will work tirelessly as well as relentlessly to put things right as well as begin the journey of regaining the trust of our customers.”

1634hrs – Looks like the witnesses, including SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes, are today inside the room. The line-up of MPs appears to be present too, so questioning should start shortly.

1625hrs – in which’s been a relatively quiet day by dieselgate standards, although in which could be about to change as the boss of the VW Group inside the United Kingdom gives evidence to MPs about the scandal.

Expect tough questions on the emissions implications of cars in which could be affected by the ‘defeat device’ software, as well as for Paul Willis to be pushed hard on the speed of response across the brands involved: VW, Audi, Skoda as well as Seat.

1600hrs – VW’s UK boss Paul Willis can be due to face questions coming from the cross-party transport select committee inside the Houses of Parliament in which afternoon, inside the wake of the dieselgate scandal in which started out with US emissions tests as well as has since spread to almost 11 million vehicles worldwide, including 1.2 million inside the United Kingdom.

In case you’re wondering what the transport select committee actually can be, in which’s a group of 11 MPs, drawn coming from the three largest parties as well as appointed by the House of Commons to scrutinise as well as question transport policy. in which has various levels of inquiry, ranging coming from several days of evidence coming from dozens of witnesses as well as publishing a comprehensive summary down to one particular day of evidence as well as no subsequent report. Today’s process, though significant in many ways, looks like in which’s towards the smaller end of in which scale.

We’ll be reporting live on the event as Willis gets quizzed on the wider VW dieselgate story, as well as how the firm intends to help affected customers inside the UK.

The session can be due to begin at 1630hrs. Willis can be scheduled to appear for 45 minutes, along with Mike Hawes, the Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers as well as Traders, as well as they’re due to be followed by Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport. Stay tuned as well as keep refreshing in which page for updates coming from 1630hrs.

inside the meantime, here’s the latest news as well as comment we have on the VW emissions scandal.

Read more on the Volkswagen emissions scandal:

Six things the firm could cut

Bugatti under threat as boss warns of ‘painful’ cuts

Blog – navel gazing at Volkswagen

Blog – Keeping up with pollution laws can be not always easy for car makers

Blog – How Volkswagen can survive its emissions scandal

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