VW reveals CO2 and MPG figures wrong in 800,000 models

The Volkswagen emissions scandal deepens as the company itself has revealed that around 800,000 vehicles could have fuel economy and CO2 emissions levels set too low after the certification process. Following on from yesterday's (Tuesday 3rd November) news that another diesel engine - the 3.0 litre TDI V6 - was being investigated by United States authorities as potentially featuring a defeat device, the week goes from bad to worse for the German car giant.

The VW Group, as part of its investigations and clarification work following the worldwide emissions scandal, has discovered that during the CO2 certification process, CO2 levels - and thus fuel consumption figures - were set to low compared to what the car actually emits. This is the first time that CO2 levels and MPG figures have been confirmed as coming into question, as the investigations up until this point have focused on the output of nitrogen oxides (NOx), and the illegal software that cheated the tests.

Volkswagen has been looking at all the processes in connection with its diesel engines and discovered the anomalies, also stating that the majority of the vehicles involved are fitted with diesel engines. This is the first time that petrol engines have been officially brought into question regarding the emissions scandal.

Although more than three quarters of a million cars is a large number, it is a tiny percentage of what the VW Group makes. It must also be remembered that more than 1 million vehicles are affected by the first round of emissions problems in the UK alone - those featuring the 2.0 litre four cylinder TDI diesel unit.

This isn't to say that the problem is insignificant though, a fact Volkswagen recognises since it is estimating that it will cost more than £1.4 billion (2 billion euros) to sort out. The greatest problem facing the VW Group with this latest revelation is that CO2 levels directly affect how much the consumer pays as, in the UK and many other countries, road tax is calculated depending on the certified levels of CO2 emitted. It is expected that, in contrast, the fix for VW's NOx problems will not affect the customer's costs much or at all.

Overnight, Matthias Müller, VW Group CEO, said: "From the very start I have pushed hard for the relentless and comprehensive clarification of events. We will stop at nothing and nobody. This is a painful process, but it is our only alternative. For us, the only thing that counts is the truth. That is the basis for the fundamental realignment that Volkswagen needs. The Board of Management of Volkswagen AG deeply regrets this situation and wishes to underscore its determination to systematically continue along the present path of clarification and transparency."

The company's supervisory board has also released a statement saying: "The Supervisory Board is deeply concerned by the discovery of irregularities found when determining CO2 levels for the type approval of Volkswagen Group vehicles. These irregularities came to light during the clarification process which, as announced, is being relentlessly and comprehensively pursued.

"The Supervisory Board and the special committee set up for the purpose of clarification will meet in the very near future to consult on further measures and consequences. The Supervisory Board will continue to ensure swift and meticulous clarification. In this regard, the latest findings must be an incentive for the Supervisory Board and the Board of Management to do their utmost to resolve such irregularities and rebuild trust."

Volkswagen has not yet released details of which cars are affected in this latest news but it is expected that further details will follow shortly. The company has reiterated previous statements that it will cooperate fully with the relevant authorities, while also confirming that none of the vehicles involved are compromised in terms of safety.

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Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:4th Nov 2015

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