Volkswagen, Germanys biggest company ( and Europes biggest manufacturer) and with a turnover of around a quarter trillion US$ last year is fucked. Seriously Seriously Genuinely …fucked.
They admitted goosing the US Emissions tests with dodgy software they wrote inhouse and lost $20bn off the stock price earlier today, but this is only the start of mucho misery for VW.
The NOX emissions issue revealed over the weekend is complex. It means VW can issue a software patch to reduce NOX emissions fairly sharpish but that measure will itself reduce real life fuel economy by 25% at least and then they are surely up shite creek again in a different class action over stateside.
To further complicate issues the yanks will go nuts when they find out widely how Diesel Particulate Filters clean themselves over in the US (and the fire risk which is supported by a lot of US case law such as the Pinta actions) and cue even more class action suits.and more losses on that front.
It probably costs less in Ireland to simply remove it and wait for the NCT emissions tests to ‘catch up’, honestly.
Then the Europeans will themselves pick over the carcass, particularly those living in countries with no car manufacturing interests …like Ireland for example. No respite before 2020 for Volkswagen.
Germany will not prosper when her biggest company, the biggest manufacturing company in all of Europe, ends up making nobody but lawyers rich for the next 5 years. No Sirree Bob and his mate Tommy too.
I know a lawyer who has already filed a class action on behalf of owners, so that will be the first order of business. Also expect a securities class action on behalf of investors who thought they were buying something other than a mafia operation…
The obvious point is what are the car owners supposed to do with their recalled (or not) cars which either go slowly and use more fuel, or fail the emissions standards. Multiply the number of cars involved by an estimate of the loss of value to the owner (factor in depreciation) and add that to any fines.
The simple story is that VW probably had not paid off the right people in CARB. In stories like this its usually is that simple.
Those of us familiar with how CARB works and the scientific travesty that is the California smog test consider it basically a non-story. Shaping smog test results has been a given for the last 40 plus years. Thats how you pass the completely arbitrary, unscientific and often contradictory test.
I had a car fail because its battery had been disconnected for a few months. The same car also failed another time because the petrol tank cap was not forming a perfect seal. Both cases the engines ran very clean well below all the limits. And with older cars even if they were running very clean and had been well maintained you just had the car detuned before testing so that it would pass one particular arbitrary limit which has little to do with pollutants.
The story with diesel in Cal is simple. The head of CARB for years saw his purpose in life was to banish every last diesel vehicle from California. I am not making this up. He said it at every opportunity. Hence Cal insane diesel rules. And the fact that the main “scientific” evidence presented by CARB for the much tighter rules was prepared by a guy with a fraudulent doctorate degree was neither here nor there.
But then the biodiesel craze started among the green loons and suddenly CARB decides to give an exemption to diesels using biodiesel. Pretty much every gross polluter vehicle I’ve seen spewing out black fumes in the last 15 years has been one of these biodiesels…
Oh yes, and all state owned (Exempt) vehicles were not covered by the rules either. And neither are trains. Where a single locomotive spews out as much pollution as many many thousands of cars.
These are the same people who contaminated the water table in several counties, destroyed tens of thousands of fuel pumps and fuel lines, with matching car fires. This was MTBE. They had a one (unnecessary) smog test item that destroyed many thousands of automatic transmissions ( mine included). And have a summer petrol formulation that increases pollution and reduces fuel efficiency, all to fix a problem in an engine class that was last manufactured when there was still a Soviet Union.
You really have to go long and far to find a regulatory organization so incompetent, so corrupt and so beholden to special interests as CARB.
The whole VW mess up reminds me of the Perrier water contamination story. They were just very unlucky to be caught out by an unlucky fluke. All car companies tweak their software to game the test. All car owners with older cars do the same.
As for CARB it is still run by incompetent, corrupt loonies. Their latest wheeze is that they want to get rid of pretty much all internal combustion engines in 10 years time. The Bill that was shot down in the Assembly in Sacramento a few week ago was just the latest round. But they’ll be back. Until CARB is abolished and replace with something sane not run by affluent middle class green nutcases we will keep having this pointless mayhem.
Hmmm. I’ve had loads of bangers that have passed smog tests without any bother. No experience of diesels here, mind you. I agree on the biodiesel craze. Nothing I hate more than finding myself trailing an old merc with a dreadlocked driver, it’s probably the most choking and sickening pollutant I’ve had the misfortune to encounter, and there are loads of them.