Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Volkswagen emissions are in the news. There is an investigation into whether or not Volkswagen and Audi diesel models are far more polluting than official figures claim.
What is it about?
Officials in the US have uncovered software in certain models of Volkswagen and Audis which is designed to beat the strict nitrous oxide, or NOx, particulate emissions and air quality tests used in the USA. Volkswagen's so-called 'defeat device' is seen as a cheat, rather than a solution to NOx emissions.
What is the problem?
In terms of how the cars drive, there is not a problem. The issue only relates to when the car’s emissions are tested. When this happens, the car detects it is being tested and the engine switches to a different mode to artificially lower the emissions and ensure the tests are passed. Therefore, the tests are not indicative of the car’s particulate emissions. This is felt not to be in the spirit of the tests.
What models are affected?
In the UK, this is the breakdown of how many models from each brand are affected:
Volkswagen passenger cars - 508,276
Audi - 393,450
Seat - 76,773
Skoda - 131,569
Volkswagen commercial vehicles - 79,838
The US Volkswagens which are affected are diesel-engined models built from 2009 to date. This includes Passat, Beetle, Golf, Jetta and Audi A3s.
Volkswagen has also confirmed that five million of its cars are affected worldwide, while Audi has said that a total of 2.1 million of its cars worldwide are also involved in the scandal - with 1.42 million of those cars residing in Western Europe. Skoda has said that 1.2 million of its cars are involved in the scandal, along with 700,000 cars from Seat
Among the Audi vehicles affected are the A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and A5 model lines.
Does it affect fuel economy?
The investigation is not about emissions of CO2. It specifically relates to particulate emissions which affect air quality in city centres. It does not affect the fuel economy. Inaccurate or misleading official fuel economy figures are a separate issue.
Does this affect the value of my Volkswagen?
Initial reports suggest that the trade values of used Volkswagen diesels are 3% behind the rest of the market at the end of September. This will continue to be affected by how Volkswagen handles the recall.
What do I need to do?
At the moment, nothing. All that has happened so far is that issue has been identified. It does not affect the way that the cars drive, the economy or the safety of these models. If any modification or correctional work is required, your Volkswagen or Audi supplying dealer will get in touch to advise.
Volkswagen has announced that it will recall 11 million cars worldwide to fix the issue. Owners of affected vehicles should expect to be contacted in the coming weeks by VW, as the VIN numbers of the affected cars are identified.