Volkswagen is back in the news again so we thought we would give you a quick summary of what has been going on.
The company has found itself in the midst of another scandal following the ‘technical fix’ it has implemented to correct the defeat devices that were used to cheat the air emissions tests.
Less than half of the 1.2 million diesel cars recalled in the UK following the original scandal have been brought back. However many of those owners who did return their cars after recall and whose vehicles were subject to the software upgrade are now claiming that it has damaged their engines and left them with cars that have poor performance. The various complaints include unreliability, unsatisfactory fuel consumption, slow acceleration, noise and rattles, limited power and problems starting.
The technical fix was originally offered by the German car manufacturer after the initial ‘dieselgate’ scandal in 2015 whereby VW made cars were fitted with software designed to cheat emissions tests (you can read more about the original story here). Since then many VW car owners whose cars had the technical fix implemented have complained of a range of issues, though Volkswagen says that their testing shows no impact on fuel efficiency and deny problems with the fix.
VW has said that although the defeat devices were not fitted to UK cars it has been applying the fix anyway in order to give drivers “peace of mind”. Models affected by the Volkswagen emissions scandal include the Golf Plus, the Polo, the Beetle and the Passat with an EA189 diesel engine. The technical fix is designed to alter software and modify an air sensor in order to more accurately read emissions. However hundreds of British car owners have complained that following the fix their cars are not working as well as they used to, some even going so far as to say that their cars are now not only unreliable but undriveable.
Some of the VW car owners who have experienced issues since the technical fix have approached the Commons’ transport committee who are investigating the scandal. The committee has now published correspondence between its chairman and VW’s UK managing director, Paul Willis, who has said that VW will investigate all complaints free of charge.
However he has also said that he is confident that the incidents are an exception. Two months ago, giving evidence at a Transport Select Committee meeting, he said just “0.75% of total updated vehicles had received a complaint”.
Yet the Volkswagen Diesel Customer Forum believes that VW failed to keep a log of issued complaints and that the number is much greater. They have issued a report suggesting that some car owners have had to replace failed EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valves following the technical fix, though VW denies that these were related to the software change.
The government hasn’t yet considered prosecuting VW for the original scandal, but the Volkswagen Diesel Customer Forum report is urging it to do so, believing that the company have broken the laws set out by EU5 engine regulation.