Tuesday 25 October 2016
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Car Pro Statement: What To Do If You Own A VW Diesel

Car Pro Statement: What To Do If You Own A VW Diesel

A Statement From Jerry Reynolds, The Car Pro, on what to do if you own a VW Diesel:

The story broke late Friday that German automaker Volkswagen faked the results of diesel emissions tests in the U.S. and may have some VW owners wondering what they should do.  I did not have time to verify the information in time for the Car Pro Radio Show last Saturday.

The automaker is suffering a backlash from the scandal—losing around $25 billion in market value since the news was announced— the implications for VW owners is still not known. VW is the largest car company in the world by total number of cars sold, and recently said that 23% of new cars sold in August in the U.S. were diesels.

I have been very vocal over the years, singing the praises of the VW TDI for it’s fuel efficiency and engine longevity, not because I considered it a “green” car.  At this time, I stand behind the TDI, but am horribly disappointed in VW as a car company.  Trusting VW again will take a lot of time for me personally, and will require total transparency.

If you own a VW diesel, this is my advice at this time:

  • See if your car is affected:

Late Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the recall of nearly half a million VW and Audi cars that are equipped with 4-cylinder turbo diesel engines, alleging the automaker used computer “defeat device” software that made its cars seem more environmentally friendly during emissions tests.

The recall covers cars made from 2009 to 2015, and includes the following models, all of which are the diesel versions: the 2009-15 VW Jetta; the 2009–15 Beetle; the 2009–15 Golf; the 2014-15 Passat; and the 2009-15 Audi A3. If you have one of these cars that is not equipped with the diesel TDI engine, you have no worries.

  • This is not a safety issue.

Most recalls are for car safety issues, but this one is different. This case centers around the emission system of VW’s line of diesel cars. During an independent analysis by researchers at West Virginia University, working with the International Council on Clean Transportation, testers found a software program that detects when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and turns on emission controls during these tests. When the car is back on the road, the controls are reduced, and the vehicle produces nitrogen oxide levels at up to 40 times the standard. This software is known as a “defeat device,” and under the Clean Air Act it is illegal.

  • Don’t blame your dealer.

The dealer you bought your car from had nothing to do with this, and probably doesn’t have any information that hasn’t already been released.  They will suffer financially because they cannot sell new or used TDI models at this time.  Decisions on how to proceed with this recall will be made by VW and the U.S. Government.  The dealers will act accordingly once they are directed.  Do not expect a loaner car at this time, if you have an affected TDI, you are in no danger and the discrepancy does not affect the drivability of your car.

  • So what is VW saying and what is the likely fallout?

No doubt this will be a blow to the reputation of VW, but like all instances like this in the past, it will likely blow over with time.  This should not be an indictment of all diesels sold in the U.S. there is no evidence any other automaker engaged in similar activities.  In a statement Friday, VW said:

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Volkswagen AG and Audi AG received today notice from the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Justice and the California Air Resources Board of an investigation related to certain emissions compliance matters.   As environmental protection and sustainability are among Volkswagen’s strategic corporate objectives, the company takes this matter very seriously and is cooperating with the investigation.

Volkswagen is committed to fixing this issue as soon as possible. We want to assure customers and owners of these models that their automobiles are safe to drive, and we are working to develop a remedy that meets emissions standards and satisfies our loyal and valued customers. Owners of these vehicles do not need to take any action at this time.

There is no doubt lawsuits will be filed against VW.  There may be a temporary loss in resale value, and once the software is eliminated, it may affect fuel economy of the VW TDI-equipped vehicles.  These are things I will keep tabs on for all listeners and newsletter subscribers.

-Jerry Reynolds, The Car Pro