back to article VW's first US settlement nearly settled

Volkswagen's “dieselgate” part-settlement has received preliminary approval from a US judge. It's the start of a long, slow process for VW to clear its name after it was caught programming diesel engine management systems to enter a low-emission (and low power) state when undergoing emission tests. If the arrangement between …

  1. Adam Jarvis

    VW Driveshaft

    So that's what VW mean by a very robust VW Driveshaft...especially for UK Customers.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in the UK...

    ...you'll get a free air freshener, but only if you sign up for a full service plan.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And in the UK...

      The air freshener hides the smell of all the BS..

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: And in the UK...

        Can anyone answer why in the UK, people have not been able to just return the car as faulty goods?

        1. tmTM

          why in the UK, people have not been able to just return the car as faulty goods?

          Well technically the system works really very well...................

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: why in the UK, people have not been able to just return the car as faulty goods?

            My understanding is this:

            In the US the car company runs the test. VW cheated in the test and the US is punishing them for it (some may say the punishment is much higher because they're a foreign firm but there's no doubt they cheated). In the US this means compensation for the owners as what they bought didn't meet the specs as a result of a cheat.

            In the EU the test isn't performed by the car company so it's unclear if they've broken any laws in the strictest terms. There seems to be an idea that there was software which made the tests look good but while I've read lots of speculation about this I haven't seen anything which really explains how they did this.

            I've seen Youtube videos claiming the engine map changes if the doors are open but the EU tests seem to be done with doors closed and the differences in the runs could easily be explained by normal rolling road variations.

            I've read about "real world" tests which couldn't match the manufacturer's figures but that's hardly surprising as there are many factors which effect emissions and economy. I let a friend drive me to work for a week and he got 10mpg less than me and he wasn't driving like a nutter.

            I've read that some testing stations have produced different results to those which gave the official figures but that's hardly the manufacturer's fault, even if it's been correctly done... unless there was bribery involved which I don't think is very likely.

            On the other hand VW are providing a "fix".....

            So, issue 1. If they broke the law in the EU then they should be punished. Perhaps they only broke the spirit of the law which is something else. Either way it doesn't worry the individual VW owner.

            Issue 2. Am I, as a VW owner, out of pocket? My car still works, its economy seems to be as close (or far) from official figures as any other. Residual values don't seem effected so probably not... ergo no compensation. I imagine a judge would consider that the cars are also not faulty but I haven't seen that tested in court.

            Two final points:

            1. I don't own share or anything in VW but I do own one petrol VAG car and one diesel (I've owned cars made by many different manufacturers over the years). I can do as well as or better than the official mpg but not consistently (BTW I don't tailgate or drive like a granny). My diesel should get a "fix" later this year.

            2. Sometimes I wonder if all this fuss is being egged on by the government who can do lots of hand wringing and car bashing without people complaining that they're pushing up emissions by:

            poor road planning,

            poor road layout

            closing off roads to stop through traffic for their mates

            putting traffic "calming" measures

            1. Triggerfish

              Re: why in the UK, people have not been able to just return the car as faulty goods?

              Nice balanced response, and I can se where you are coming from. However if the good were sold at a certain spec, and it turns out that this is not true. Then does that not mean you have effectively been sold a pig in a poke by the company?

              So does this not mean by consumer protection laws you are entitled to a full refund, as either they knowingly sold you goods of a lesser spec, which would be some sort of fraudulent transaction, or they have sold it with fault which should entitle you to full refund.

              Don't get me wrong I have nothing against VW, and the cars of their I have driven are fine. But I can't help feeling like this would be an oppurtunity for someone who has had a VW for a couple of years to take it back get a full refund and buy this years model.

  3. Adam 1

    > In Australia, for example, the company claims different NOx emission standards mean the engines didn't breach regulations. ®

    Perhaps, but

    https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/repair-replace-refund#repair-replacement-or-refund

    “You can ask for a replacement or refund if the problem with the product is major.

    Replaced products must be of an identical type to the product originally supplied. Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment..”

    A product or good has a major problem when:

    * it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it

    * it is unsafe

    * it is significantly different from the sample or description

    * it doesn’t do what the business said it would, or what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed.”

    If I were VW, I would be avoiding the trying a bit more mea culpa in my response rather than try to argue that line, irrespective of whether it is legally the case.

    1. tmTM

      Isn't there more interest from the regulator side?

      Even if the engines don't breach regulations, they still lied and under-stated emissions levels.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Did they really cheat the EU tests or did they optimise the car for certain conditions? It's a bit like tax, optimising my tax is OK, evading is not.

        To take two examples:

        If it's true that the car goes into low emissions mode when driven straight ahead at 40mph then that happens to fit half my commute to work on a good day.

        If the car used a GPS locator to know that it was in a test centre.... that's another story.

        1. Adam 1

          Sometimes things are convenient coincidences.

          Other times, it looks more like this

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZSU1FPDiao

        2. toughluck

          Re: Did they really cheat the EU tests or did they optimise the car for certain conditions?

          If it's true that the car goes into low emissions mode when driven straight ahead at 40mph then that happens to fit half my commute to work on a good day.

          If you happen to drive with your rear wheels on trolleys, then sure.

  4. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

    EPA/CARB

    Much of this tempest seems to stem from the EPA/CARB (Environmental Protection Agency/California Air Resources Board) inclination to remove diesel engines completely from US soil. The evidence might be anecdotal but it seems that way to me. While Europe has actively embraced diesel for its efficiency the US has gone petrol. Some of this is marketing (or lack thereof) on the part of diesel manufacturers to be sure, and some of it is our manufacturers not investing in diesel technology earlier. If the light truck manufacturers had turbo'd the early diesel offerings (like the heavy trucks did) the whole market might have taken off. Instead they just upped the size of the engines and let them belch. That turned away interest in small car diesel. That and the abysmal performance of the early economy car diesel offerings in the US. Example: I test drove a new diesel VW Rabbit in 1984(?) that got great mileage but its 0-60mph time was well into the double digits. It was dangerous to try to merge onto highways with the thing. I ended up buying a petrol Nissan that got 80%+ of the economy and was twice as fast to 60. And didn't leave a black trail of smoke for blocks.

    TLDR: There is lots of blame to spread around but VW is fixing to pay the bill for everyone's actions that led to an overly aggressive time schedule for reducing diesel emissions in the States.

  5. M. Poolman

    Dieselgate

    Please, please, pretty please with sprinkles on the top,

    It's been >40 years since Watergate, and appending "gate" onto anything describing some piece of political and/or corporate naughtiness is not big and its not clever: it's simply lazy and unimaginative to the nth degree.

    Here endeth this evenings rant.

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Dieselgate

      But "...gate" works. We know immediately what "...gate" means. You may think it is "not big and its not clever" but it is very clear use of English (and probably works in French too). Kind of the point of a journalistic writing.

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