It’s the second week of the Volkswagen emissions scandal and the crisis shows no signs of abating just yet. Audi has admitted 2.1 million of its cars were affected worldwide and another VW Group concern – Skoda – revealed it had 1.2m cars running the ‘defeat device’ software too, on top of the 5m VWs already identified. The news comes as governments around the world are scrambling further inquiries into the ‘cheat mode’ which has seen VWs sidestep official emissions testing standards in the US
The new group boss of Volkswagen certainly has his hands full. Wolfsburg announced sweeping boardroom changes on Friday 25 September: Porsche leader Matthias Mueller is the new CEO of Volkswagen AG and has pledged that his first priority is to clean up the company with a major restructure, new personnel and emergency actions to restore faith among the 80 million Volkswagen owners worldwide.
Cars affected include all Golf Mk6, Passat Mk7, Tiguan Mk1 diesels, which are ‘equipped exclusively with type EA189 diesel engines.’ Audis affected are some A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5 models, it was revealed today. Skoda has yet to reveal a model breakdown.
Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of the VW car division, said: ‘We are working at full speed on a technical solution that we will present to partners, to our customers and to the public as swiftly as possible. Our aim is to inform our customers as quickly as possible, so that their vehicles comply fully with regulations. I assure you that Volkswagen will do everything humanly possible to win back the trust of our customers, the dealerships and the public.’
VW has been embroiled in a storm after US emissions bodies discovered 2.0-litre diesel engines used a hidden special ‘cheat cycle’ when placed on a laboratory testbed (the cars can tell because the front wheels are spinning on a dynometer while the rears are stationary). The smaller 1.6 TDI is also now implicated, dramatically increasing the pool of cars affected.
A simple recall story in the US has rapidly escalated into a full-blown global scandal, with American authorities threatening a robust $18 billion fine, VW shares plummeting by a third, Switzerland banning sales of affected diesels and Wolfsburg hastily committing to the recall of nearly half a million vehicles in the US, and probably more elsewhere in the world.