Volkswagen is in trouble with just about everybody on the f'ing planet

MacGuffin

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I think the concern is less that they have a defeat software/device installed and more than they may have knowingly used substandard materials with less lifespan than required for things like fuel seals, airbag sensors/detonators (think Takata but instead knowing that the charges were defective prior to install), all to avoid spending the money needed to properly comply - which is the same reason they cheated on emissions.

Thing is, MacGuffin, we've already *had* big companies do similar things in their fields. Often times when a company starts intentionally cheating on safety or real pollution issues just to save a buck, they've also illegally skimped/screwed the consumer elsewhere - in for a penny, in for a pound seems to be the logic there. This isn't something new to the US experience - we learned from our Industrial Revolution 'robber baron' 'princes of industry' and their aftermaths quite well. It's not VW hating; it's simply expecting VW to have fit the long established pattern of corporate/industrial corruption.

With something like, say, a DVD/CD/MP3 player, the hazards are relatively easy to check for and mitigate. Also, the expenditure is small and you're not really relying on it for protection. Buying one fixed after a recall isn't a huge risk. With something as large, costly and complicated as a car, it's a different story. After all, finding out that the DVD player was constructed with other sub par parts that caused it to cease function merely means you have to go get another one. Finding out that your car's airbags were made with charges from (to pick something hopefully so ridiculous that VW wouldn't do it - but who can tell at this point?) surplus German Army hand grenades with a use-by date back in 1964 is neither so easy to find out ahead of time nor without high risk should you discover one day you need your airbags. Do you really want to find out the hard way that VW also lied about, say, the airbag components' composition and lifespan?

Well, the tragedy if VW is not that they needed to resort to cheating but that it was made possible by the management structure, a wrong strategy, political weakness and the authoritarian style with Winterkorn led his company (even high managers didn't dare contradict him and bad news resulted and shouting and carpeting people). In the meantime there have been some reports of what was going on behind the scenes (also what happened at the board meeting last Friday), which explains a bit why the whole mess happened and why it wasn't addressed earlier. I hope that the current editorial of DER SPIEGEL will be available in English next week, then I will paste it here. It's titled "The suicide".

I have a cousin who works at VW as an engineer and the hardest part for him is to accept that a company like his, absolutely obsessed with engineering and technology, had such a huge slip-up. So I don't think they cheated in another way. After all, it has a reason the price of a VW is usually a bit higher than of its direct competitors. Other car makers might have a better record in reliability but it's because they simply went for the simpler solutions. The Toyota Prius, for instance, is from a technical standpoint a very simple solution. For instance the top speed is limited due to certain technical necessities, not because Toyota doesn't believe in speed...

Anyway, I am digressing. As I said: I can understand the disappointment and the mistrust but I can't understand the sometimes hysterical reactions. The issue here was what can be considered a quick and cheap fix, a software delivered by Bosch (who already warned VW in 2007 about using it illegally), and not a construction or design fault. What keeps me amazed a bit is how long it took to find out the manipulations. It took how long? 8 years? 8 years, when every engineer in the business must have been able to tell that something couldn't be physically right there...

Unless of course the cheating happened everywhere else, too, and the others were just lucky and wise not to push the diesel in America so much.
 

TC

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By the way: I had the chance to talk to some other VW drivers here in the meantime. It doesn't seem like the VW image has suffered much among them. The statements could be summarized in something like: "Yeah, I might have an additional visit to the garage and the car might need a bit more fuel after that. But at least I don't drive a Toyota/Opel/Fiat/Peugeot, etc. :D"

Not exactly the most unbiased or objective opinions though. I imagine VW owners here would say the same thing, if they weren't scrambling to get their names on one of the many class action lawsuits.
 

MacGuffin

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Not exactly the most unbiased or objective opinions though. I imagine VW owners here would say the same thing, if they weren't scrambling to get their names on one of the many class action lawsuits.

"Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind." (Gordon Gecko, Wall Street)
 

Spectre

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Well, the tragedy if VW is not that they needed to resort to cheating but that it was made possible by the management structure, a wrong strategy, political weakness and the authoritarian style with Winterkorn led his company (even high managers didn't dare contradict him and bad news resulted and shouting and carpeting people). In the meantime there have been some reports of what was going on behind the scenes (also what happened at the board meeting last Friday), which explains a bit why the whole mess happened and why it wasn't addressed earlier. I hope that the current editorial of DER SPIEGEL will be available in English next week, then I will paste it here. It's titled "The suicide".

I have a cousin who works at VW as an engineer and the hardest part for him is to accept that a company like his, absolutely obsessed with engineering and technology, had such a huge slip-up. So I don't think they cheated in another way. After all, it has a reason the price of a VW is usually a bit higher than of its direct competitors. Other car makers might have a better record in reliability but it's because they simply went for the simpler solutions. The Toyota Prius, for instance, is from a technical standpoint a very simple solution. For instance the top speed is limited due to certain technical necessities, not because Toyota doesn't believe in speed...

Anyway, I am digressing. As I said: I can understand the disappointment and the mistrust but I can't understand the sometimes hysterical reactions. The issue here was what can be considered a quick and cheap fix, a software delivered by Bosch (who already warned VW in 2007 about using it illegally), and not a construction or design fault. What keeps me amazed a bit is how long it took to find out the manipulations. It took how long? 8 years? 8 years, when every engineer in the business must have been able to tell that something couldn't be physically right there...

There were a *lot* of people in the US wondering how VW managed to meet the smog regs without using DEF in their diesels. Thing is, they were running the EPA test cycle on their examples of the VW products in question so they were getting the same results. Eventually, VW would likely have been caught out by the US's growing fleets of roadside sniffers.

Also, you are in denial. "I don't think they cheated" is in direct opposition to the fact that they did, in fact, admit that they cheated on the EPA test cycle. Let's call it exactly what it is - not a slip up, not an error. It was a deliberate lie, it was deliberate, intentional, purposeful cheating.

Your "it was just software" claim can be disproven by the fact that the two VW software updates prior to the EPA dropping the hammer on VW didn't solve it, the addition of urea injection didn't resolve it, and experts from the real diesel tech leaders (like Cummins, not VW) are saying that no, they're not likely going to be resolving their problems with a software patch - not and be able to maintain their power and fuel economy numbers at anything like their current outputs.

Unless of course the cheating happened everywhere else, too, and the others were just lucky and wise not to push the diesel in America so much.

I repeat - BMW's USDM diesels have already been cleared by the same people (ICCT and WVU) that found the VW cheating. It's not so much that other manufacturers "didn't push diesel, didn't get caught" in the US because they had millions of dollars in incentives to bring 'clean diesel' to the US (see: Cash For Clunkers and CAFE, among other programs) so much as they paid out and complied with the law here because there are dire consequences if you don't. The incentives to bring clean diesel vehicles out in the US were such that even goddamn General Freaking Motors, the same people that poisoned the diesel car well in the 1980s with their diesel-converted ex-gasser V8 engines, came out of decades long aversion to diesel cars, did the homework and brought out a diesel Cruze. (They still screwed it up, just not in the area of emissions.) VW apparently decided "rules are for the little guy" and arrogantly forged ahead with the cheating.

From others' reports, I'm sure everyone cheats in Europe; there doesn't seem to be much of any legal consequences to cheating there. The thing you don't seem to get is that in the US, emissions violations like the ones so overlooked in Europe *are* a big deal and are *not* swept under the rug.

Why is it a big deal? Here's why.
3196398550_47fc9f9990_z.jpg

See that brown-gray pall lying over downtown Los Angeles? That's not clouds, that's not fog. That's toxic, choking photochemical smog, directly caused by vehicle emissions. Especially the kind VW so nicely had their cars dump millions of extra tons of into the air. This is a bad thing. We don't want more of it, we want less of it.

- - - Updated - - -

How A Little Lab In West Virginia Caught Volkswagen's Big Cheat (Bolding mine.)

Volkswagen was recently brought to its knees when scientists discovered the company had installed a device in its diesel-powered cars to fool emissions tests. Its stock price tanked, its reputation has been damaged and its CEO resigned on Wednesday.

So who made the discovery that sent the German car giant into a tailspin? A group of scientists at West Virginia University.

WVU research assistant professor Arvind Thiruvengadam and his colleagues test and experiment on cars and engines. He admits his is not the sexiest lab on campus, but he says he got superexcited when they won a grant in 2012 to test a few diesel cars.

"Our happiness was, 'Wow, we are going to be the first guys to test diesel cars on the road,' " he says. "And then after that, when we were getting the data we were like 'OK, we're going to write a lot of journal papers, and we'll be happy if three people read these journal papers.' That's our happiness at that point."

The International Council on Clean Transportation is a nonprofit that tries to provide independent science to government agencies that regulate the environment. It hired the university to do a standard emissions tests on diesel cars in the U.S. Volkswagen has been hyping diesel cars that are environmentally friendly and fuel efficient. Volkswagen had the boldest claims and the highest sales, but Thiruvengadam tested two VW cars and found that the claims of low emissions never panned out in the real world.

"We were never seeing those low emissions during most part of our drives on the interstate. That part of the emissions program was interesting," he says.

In none of their road tests could they get their two Volkswagen cars to meet the claims, even though a BMW they tested did fine. Very early on it was pretty clear to the scientists that something was wrong.

He says the team kept double-checking its procedures. "And then, I mean, we did so much testing that we couldn't repeatedly be doing the same mistake again and again," he says.

Volkswagen was cheating. That's what everyone in the project began to suspect but wouldn't dare to say out loud.

"It's the sort of thing you just don't go around accusing companies of doing unless you're absolutely sure," says John German, with the International Council on Clean Transportation ? the group that commissioned the test. German immediately suspected Volkswagen had done something not completely unheard of in the car business: install what's called a defeat device.

"The quick definition is something that tells the computer when you're on the official test cycle and when you're not. And when you're not, you change how the emission control system works," he says.

German says the deceit doesn't just stop with a programmer writing code.

"It's both writing the code, but you also need to do validation. So someone had to take these vehicles out, test them on the standard test cycle, make sure that the emission controls are supposed to be working when they're supposed to be working," he says.

German's group turned its data over to the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. He says things like this start with one little lie or cheat at a time.

"You take a little step, you don't get caught. So yeah, you take another little step," he says. "And then maybe you don't even realize how far over the line you are."

So does he feel vindicated?

"I think vindicated is the wrong word. I feel satisfaction that we have contributed to something that will have a major impact on public health," he says. "But vindication implies that we are out to get somebody. And we weren't. We had no idea that this was out there."

The question now for investigators and prosecutors from Korea to Germany to the U.S. is how many people at Volkswagen knew and how far up that knowledge went.
 
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MacGuffin

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Also, you are in denial. "I don't think they cheated" is in direct opposition to the fact that they did, in fact, admit that they cheated on the EPA test cycle. Let's call it exactly what it is - not a slip up, not an error. It was a deliberate lie, it was deliberate, intentional, purposeful cheating.

No, I am not. I know it was fraud, criminal intent. I only wonder how the fuck it was possible in a company that wouldn't have had to resort to that. It just won't go in my head that they have been so stupid.

I repeat - BMW's USDM diesels have already been cleared by the same people (ICCT and WVU) that found the VW cheating.

Yes, I know. Makes it even harder to understand.

Why is it a big deal? Here's why.
3196398550_47fc9f9990_z.jpg

See that brown-gray pall lying over downtown Los Angeles? That's not clouds, that's not fog. That's toxic, choking photochemical smog, directly caused by vehicle emissions. Especially the kind VW so nicely had their cars dump millions of extra tons of into the air. This is a bad thing. We don't want more of it, we want less of it.

I'm no expert but that looks like CO2 emissions, dust and small particles, which all vehicles emit (as well as heatings, industrial compounts, ships, etc.). Also known as pollution. The picture looks bad but that's not the effect of too much NO2. The case here are NO2 emission, which are a direct result of the direct injection diesel technology. In short: CO2 is bad for the climate, NO2 is bad for humans.

And I just want to mention that despite the current scandal you won't find such pictures here in Middle Europe anymore.
 
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TC

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"Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind." (Gordon Gecko, Wall Street)

Could be greed, if they're looking to make a profit, but for most it's simply about getting their money back for a fraudulent product. A product that lost most of it's substantial value overnight.

VW owners who are stuck with cars which now have a tarnished reputation and increasing levels of depreciation would of course defend the product.

The ultimate judge is the free market. It will be interesting to see what this does to VW in the long term.
 

Spectre

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I'm no expert but that looks like CO2 emissions, dust and small particles, which all vehicles emit (as well as heatings, industrial compounts, ships, etc.). The picture looks bad but that's not the effect of too much NO2. The case here are NO2 emission, which are a direct result of the direct injection diesel technology. In short: CO2 is bad for the climate, NO2 is bad for humans.

No, actually. That's not CO2 emissions. Look upthread, it's photochemical smog, caused by oxides of nitrogen. CO2 does NOT do that.

And I just want to mention that despite the current scandal you won't find such pictures here in Middle Europe anymore.

I guess Paris doesn't count as Middle Europe.

750x-1.jpg


Famed Parisian landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower have been increasingly obscured in recent years by an oppressive smog. City officials have placed the blame chiefly on diesel exhaust, widening a Europewide attack on the fuel.
 

MacGuffin

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Yeah well... Paris ;) Some people don't count France to Middle Europe anyway :p

Also, Paris has a LOT more diesel cars than L.A. Still L.A. looks at least as dirty to my eyes. So it cannot just be the diesels, there has to be more.

I don't want to seem narfy but I think it's important that we don't add wrong impressions, speculations, rumours or conspiracy theories to this thread.
 
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MacGuffin

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So when there are so few diesels in America, why is L.A. as dirty as Paris or London? :p
 

Spectre

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Yeah well... Paris ;) Some people don't count France to Middle Europe anyway :p

Also, Paris has a LOT more diesel cars than L.A. Still L.A. looks at least as dirty to my eyes. So it cannot just be the diesels, there has to be more.

It's not just diesels, no. Nor was anyone claiming 'it was the diesels that caused this.' This was caused by the special geographical situation of Los Angeles (the basin forms a standing wave, air currents therefore often don't dilute or dissipate pollutants because of the standing wave's 'bubble' and anything in the air stays there for *days* until the wave dissipates) plus the standard photochemical smog generation process - which is fueled by oxides of nitrogen, a standard emission from most internal combustion engines. Oxides of nitrogen are exactly what VW was cheating on and dumping millions of extra tons into the atmosphere.

The difference between LA and say London in this case is that LA's geographical location means that air pollution's propagation is greatly accelerated and it doesn't necessarily blow it away. It makes for easy study of the mechanisms of smog and smog reducing measures; LA is called "America's Smog Lab" for a reason.
 

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I'm being provocative now: So when you have a problem with smog and it's clear that the number of diesels only plays a miniscule role in creating it (because you actuallky don't have many of them), why do Americans sue a foreign car maker instead of local industry and local car makers, who apparently have a much higher share in polluting the air? :p

I'm sorry but it's hard to talk about and take the blame for smog problems and health issues with people from a country who sonsider a 6-liter V8 "normal" for daily use ;)

(just wanting to prevent losing the perspective here)
 
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Spectre

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So when there are so few diesels in America, why is L.A. as dirty as Paris or London? :p

See above: Nitrogen oxides. Here's a graphic to show how nitrogen oxides are the major fuel of photochemical smog:
cmqayujy6616513873702458770.jpg


This is why controlling NOx (nitrogen oxides) is important; diesels inherently produce way more NOx than gasoline engines (when no controls are applied). Everyone else in the US met the NOx controls for gas and diesel, so as to keep photochemical smog down. VW didn't and was spewing the major photochemical smog fuel into the air at a rate up to 40 times the legal limits.

- - - Updated - - -

I'm being provocative now: So when you have a problem with smog and it's clear that the number of diesels only plays a miniscule role in creating it (because you actuallky don't have many of them), why do Americans sue a foreign car maker instead of local industry and local car makers, who apparently have a much higher share in polluting the air? :p

I'm sorry but it's hard to talk about smog and vehicle emissions and health issues with people from a country who sonsider a 6-liter V8 "normal" for daily use ;)

Pssst, that gasser 6.0L V8 car has to meet a *stricter* emissions standard on NOx, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide than the diesel VWs did. That's right, it doesn't get a pass and it has to be *cleaner* than the diesels. It doesn't even get an adjustment based on displacement; a 1.0L I3 gas engine and a 6.0L V8 engine have to meet the same smog standards and they have the same limits. And the manufacturers of those cars did honestly meet and pass the smog standards, unlike VW.

VW gets sued because they lied, they cheated and they polluted far more than the worst thing Detroit puts out even now. Or, to put that in perspective - a brand new VW pollutes more than my 20 year old, 330,000 mile, 7.3L Powerstroke diesel. *Everyone* has to meet the same standards to sell cars in the US (which is why the Chinese makers still haven't been able to get in) so when someone breaks the rules (apparently unlike Germany) they get hammered by the EPA when they get found out. It doesn't matter who they are; VW's a special case because they didn't accidentally violate the rules and laws, they did it *intentionally*. Intentional violations get the extra-large hammer unless prior arrangements have been made, they are temporary and are done with the intent of coming up with a better way to comply; see the Navistar examples upthread.

You are really desperately grasping at straws.
 
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MacGuffin

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Still it's somehow ridiculous that people seem to believe now that the smog problems you have there, were created because VW sold a few diesels with too high emissions. As I said: I'm all for VW paying the price for their criminal behaviour but we shouldn't lose the perspective either. I'm not grasping as straws - why should I? I'm not involved and personally I have no personal connection to VW other than that I bought one of their products (which I am still completely satisfied with, btw.).

You are constantly trying to push me into the corner where it seems I'm defending VW. I am not. I only try to not let the discussion become ridiculous and it has been on the brink of that several times so far.
 
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Spectre

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Still it's somehow ridiculous that people seem to believe now that the smog problems you have there, were created because VW sold a few diesels with too high emissions. As I said: I'm all for VW paying the price for their criminal behaviour but we shouldn't lose the perspective either.

Uhhhhhh.... The only person that seems to believe that is you.

Nobody says that the problems were created by VW, because that's patently silly. They are saying that by being gross polluters, VW contributed to the problem. VW specifically avoided controlling the emissions that lead to the pictured conditions and produced forty TIMES the allowable limits.

Let's try this a different way. I seem to recall that the Rhine was once considered the most polluted river in Europe. Over the past decades, efforts have been made to clean it up. The river is still polluted and still has problems, but they're being worked on and improvement is being seen. What VW did was the equivalent of sneakily laying a pipeline to the Rhine and covertly discharging billions of liters of industrial waste chemicals into the Rhine over the better part of the past decade. No, VW did not cause the river to be polluted in the first place. But they sure aren't *helping* and they made it worse, at least in the area of their operation. Then they lied, said all they were discharging was pure H2O and that any evidence to the contrary were just 'measurement error'.

That's essentially what they did, translated into a perhaps more understandable analogy... although, come to think of it, doesn't VW have at least one plant near the Rhine? Someone might want to go see if there's a mysterious pipe venting pollutants into the Rhine near the VW plant... :mrgreen:
 
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MacGuffin

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Volkswagen is in trouble with just about everybody on the f'ing planet

Nope, VW has no plants at the Rhine, that would be Opel and Ford ;) VW factories are in northern and eastern Germany.

On the rest I can agree with you. I only think that as bad as the things are that VW did, they shouldn't be used to turn the company into a scapegoat.
 
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prizrak

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I only think that as bad as the things are that VW did, they shouldn't be used to turn the company into a scapegoat.
I'm not sure how they are being turned into a scapegoat, they are being punished for things they admitted to doing not for all of the things ever done by anyone ever.
 

Jimi Hendrix

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By the way: I had the chance to talk to some other VW drivers here in the meantime. It doesn't seem like the VW image has suffered much among them. The statements could be summarized in something like: "Yeah, I might have an additional visit to the garage and the car might need a bit more fuel after that. But at least I don't drive a Toyota/Opel/Fiat/Peugeot, etc. :D"


If customers in their homecountry are really that retarded surely their beloved brand won't have any problem screwing them in any other areas in the future. They almost seem happy about it!
 

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VW gets sued because they lied, they cheated and they polluted far more than the worst thing Detroit puts out even now. Or, to put that in perspective - a brand new VW pollutes more than my 20 year old, 330,000 mile, 7.3L Powerstroke diesel.

Ok, let's not get to carried away, shall we? Even with the NOx thing, that's simply not true. The standards 20 years ago were so different as to make that comparison senseless.

Even if VW has to pay for the cheating, and even if VW cheating meant there is more pollution around than what we expected it to be, it's not like the world would be as clean as a daisy if VW hadn't cheated. There are too many factors to count in, or the air surveys would have pointed towards the car industry from the start.
VW is to be punished for its wrongdoing and to avoid setting a precedent for other com0panies to lie and go unpunished, but the diesel fraud had scarce impact on air pollution as a whole. Unless it's a matter of other makers too, but that is a completely different scenario altogether.
 
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GRtak

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By the way: I had the chance to talk to some other VW drivers here in the meantime. It doesn't seem like the VW image has suffered much among them. The statements could be summarized in something like: "Yeah, I might have an additional visit to the garage and the car might need a bit more fuel after that. But at least I don't drive a Toyota/Opel/Fiat/Peugeot, etc. :D"



I am surprised you can't see the Fanboyism in this. Let's turn the table a bit and imagine it was BMW that was caught instead, would you not expect that same group to say something along the line of: "Sure glad I got a VW instead of that nasty BMW pollution machine", "They are going to get so hammered in fines and lawsuits it will be funny", etc. , etc..


Edit: And is Berlin middle Europe enough for you?

114639605.jpg
 
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