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

They can always settle the case for much less than the initial fine. That's where campaign contributions and other forms of soft money will come into play. EPA needs to be reigned in somehow, money is usually the best way to do it, and big corporations are the only entities that can afford it. Samsung famously got caught with funds set aside specifically for bribes. I don't think they are the only multi-national conglomerate that does it, other companies are probably better at hiding the fund.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/07/business/worldbusiness/06cnd-samsung.html?_r=0

I'm not sure why you think there is any problem with this regulation, this is regulation for battling harmful emissions not something silly like MPG mandates, aka stuff you gonna be breathing everytime you are around cars, which I suspect is a lot. Sounds to me like something an Environmental Protection Agency should be involved with.
 
Yeah, this isn't one of the 'silly' EPA rules that should be ignored. Oxides of nitrogen, which is what the VW engines were caught going way over the limit on when not in 'emissions test mode', combine with other things floating around along with UV from the sun to become photochemical smog. Here's the mechanism by which that works:

cmqayujy6616513873702458770.jpg


Photochemical smog is that gray-brown haze that hovers over cities.

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los-angeles-smog-1.jpg


In worse cases, it can become so dense it looks like fog at street level. The above is post-smog-controls Los Angeles. The below is *pre* smog controls Los Angeles - and that's not fog. What's worse is that *most* days in LA were like that.

smoggy-civic-center.jpg


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This is what a good day looked like in LA.

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Here's the difference that the basic smog rules, like the ones that VW completely blew off, make:

LA.jpg


LA still does get some really bad smog days but now they're the rare exception rather than the rule - here's one of the exceptions:

smog-los-angeles-air-quality-health.jpg


That's a rare 'extreme smog event' these days. Back in the Fifties, that was "any day ending in a Y"; when I lived there in the 80s/early 90s it was something like once every other month.

This isn't like global warming, this is an actual, unargued airborne toxin. Photochemical smog is nasty, nasty stuff. Every person, including myself, that lived in Los Angeles from 1949 to 1995 for any significant length of time has an average 30% less working lung capacity compared to the average human as a direct result of that crap.

And this is what the VWs in question were cranking out a large surplus of - the gases that cause this shit.

They need to burn for this.
 
This is similar to the MPG mandate in the sense that it is mandating some impossibly low amount of emission (MPG mandates impossibly high MPG). These regulations needs to achieve a balance of protecting the environment and the needs of the people. EPA pretty much ignores the need of the people and just mandates whatever sounds good to them or makes them look useful.
 
This is similar to the MPG mandate in the sense that it is mandating some impossibly low amount of emission (MPG mandates impossibly high MPG). These regulations needs to achieve a balance of protecting the environment and the needs of the people. EPA pretty much ignores the need of the people and just mandates whatever sounds good to them or makes them look useful.

Actually, the oxides of nitrogen laws aren't unreasonably low. Further, everyone else managed to meet the standard. All VW had to do was adopt DEF/SCR/urea injection - the technology already existed at the time, and that's what Mercedes did. Or they could have followed Navistar and tried to work out an advanced EGR solution. Or they could have tried something else - oddly enough, the EPA was willing to work with manufacturers to achieve the standard as the EPA didn't like the idea of requiring a consumable to meet the standard. The EPA even gave Navistar a waiver for several extra years to try to get EGR to work.

Instead, VW cheated and did nothing to actually improve their emissions.

The very least that should be done is the same that Navistar had to do when they finally had to admit that EGR wasn't going to do it - pay $3370 per non-complying engine sold to that date. At about 500,000 cars, that isn't going to be cheap.

Edit: I do mean that at as an absolute minimum - Navistar had negotiated with the EPA ahead of time. In other words, Navistar was honest and went to the EPA with the proposal before trying to get it to work. The EPA knew that the trucks were going to be sold with non-compliant engines and had granted a waiver for them in the hopes that Navistar's EGR system would work out and those trucks would be updated to be compliant later. It didn't, Navistar paid the previously agreed penalties, and everyone moved on.

VW didn't tell the EPA they were doing this. They didn't tell anyone. And then they had the gall to advertise their diesels were clean. They need to be appropriately 'rewarded' for their actions - VW should have to pay more, a lot more, for breaking the rules by cheating.
 
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To add to the above, it's not like VW was selling trucks that are basically required to be diesels, they were selling cars, cars seem to work quite well with simple ass gasoline...
 
To add to the above, it's not like VW was selling trucks that are basically required to be diesels, they were selling cars, cars seem to work quite well with simple ass gasoline...

Tsk tsk. Diesel seems to work even better for cars and anything that doesn't require extreme lightness, so why not use it? Especially for a niche marque like VW (in the US).
 
Tsk tsk. Diesel seems to work even better for cars and anything that doesn't require extreme lightness, so why not use it? Especially for a niche marque like VW (in the US).

Seems simple enough to me. The downsides, primarily the ultra nasty byproducts of the diesel combustion cycle are so bad, that they outweigh the upsides. I don't know about you, but I like clean air.
 
Who can forget the best part about Diesels, runaway!

 
Tsk tsk. Diesel seems to work even better for cars and anything that doesn't require extreme lightness, so why not use it? Especially for a niche marque like VW (in the US).

Aside from what others have already said, it turns out that some of the exhaust of conventional-diesel fueled engines tends to condense on surfaces and form a sticky, usually brown always carcinogenic residue. This was discovered in California in the 1950s and led (in part) to the de-facto all-but-ban on diesel cars in that state. No, DEF and DPF systems do *not* remove all of it from the exhaust. France recently found out what that brown gelid stuff that is forming on their buildings and monuments in Paris was; they are desperately trying to get rid of diesels as a result.
 
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Yeah...I'm going to have to recant my previous statement about not caring about this. When I first read the story, my mind's eye replaced EPA with CAFE, hence my previous indifference (because I though it was about MPG, not NOx). I have to go with prizzle and specizzle, VW needs to go up on the cross for this one.
 
Yeah...I'm going to have to recant my previous statement about not caring about this. When I first read the story, my mind's eye replaced EPA with CAFE, hence my previous indifference (because I though it was about MPG, not NOx). I have to go with prizzle and specizzle, VW needs to go up on the cross for this one.

Yeah, if it was just MPG, it wouldn't be a big deal unless you were one of the people who were dumb enough to buyowned a VW. Unfortunately, it's not - and this is a 'some people need to be going to jail for this' offense.
 
And here's a little broader update from the LA Times:

VW?s software trick allows the cars to emit up to 40 times the legally allowed amount of nitrogen oxide, environmental officials said. The automaker will have to recall all the vehicles and modify the emissions systems at its own expense, regulators said. Additionally it could face a fine of about $18 billion, or $37,500 per car, federal environmental officials said.

Over and above the fines, pending lawsuits and lost sales revenue, it's going to be REALLY expensive to mod 482,000 cars! And so far I haven't heard of any other countries weighing in. I know their diesels are really popular up here.

VW cheated on U.S. pollution tests for 'clean diesels'

By Jerry Hirsch

Volkswagen called them ?clean diesels,? branding them as the fun-to-drive alternatives to hybrids as it dominated the U.S. market for the engine technology.

Turns out the increasingly eco-conscious buyers of the sporty German cars have been unwittingly pumping smog into the air ? because of software VW installed to cheat on U.S. emissions tests.

The world?s largest automaker has admitted selling 482,000 such diesels since 2009, California and U.S. regulators announced Friday. The scandal could cost the company billions of dollars in fines and lawsuit judgments and threatens to stunt the development of all diesel vehicles.

VW?s software trick allows the cars to emit up to 40 times the legally allowed amount of nitrogen oxide, environmental officials said. The automaker will have to recall all the vehicles and modify the emissions systems at its own expense, regulators said. Additionally it could face a fine of about $18 billion, or $37,500 per car, federal environmental officials said.

?It's pretty ugly,? Kelley Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer said. ?Volkswagen has far outstripped everyone else in selling diesel cars. This challenges everything they've been saying about those vehicles.?

Nitrogen oxide is among the auto pollutants that put more smog into California?s skies, Air Resources Board Executive Officer Richard Corey said.

?Under the hot California sun [nitrogen oxide] cooks and creates ozone and fine particles,? Corey said.

Many owners of VW diesels ? who tend to be enthusiasts ? were enraged at being deceived.

?It's just a blatant disregard and intentional manipulation of the system,? said Priya Shah, a San Francisco owner of a 2012 VW diesel Jetta station wagon. ?Not only lying to the government, but also lying to your consumer. People buy diesel cars from VW because they feel they are clean diesel cars.?

Shah said the car is likely to be her last Volkswagen.

Justin Balthrop, of Topanga, has driven four VWs over many years and just bought a 2015 Golf TDI because of its mix of performance and fuel efficiency.

He?s concerned that bringing the car into compliance with pollution limits might lower its fuel mileage.

?I was just kind of shocked that they would do that,? said Balthrop, 36.

The affected diesel models include: Jetta (model years 2009-15), Beetle (model years 2009-15), Audi A3 (model years 2009-15), Golf (model years 2009-15), and Passat (model years 2012-15).

The EPA made its charges by sending Volksagen a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act. It covers models equipped with 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesel engines. The California Air Resources Board issued a similar letter for violations of state regulations.

Volkswagen and Audi vehicles from model years 2009 to 2015 have the software, which uses an algorithm that automatically detects when the vehicle is undergoing pollution tests and changes the way it performs.

The EPA said the device senses the testing environment by analyzing a variety of data ? steering position, speed, duration of engine operation and barometric pressure.

?These inputs precisely track the parameters of the federal test procedure,? the agency wrote in its notice of violation to VW.

The test manipulation ?is illegal and a threat to public health,? said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. ?We expected better from VW.?

Volkswagen admitted that the cars contained ?defeat devices,? after EPA and the state air regulator demanded an explanation for the emission problems.

Volkswagen is the world?s biggest auto company, outselling Toyota and General Motors this year. The automaker issued a statement saying it is cooperating with the investigation and declined further comment.

It is also by far the industry leader in diesel car sales in the U.S. The German automaker last year sold 78,847 diesel passenger vehicles in the U.S., well ahead of its nearest competitor, according to online auto sales company TrueCar. Its corporate sibling Audi sold 15,732 vehicles during the same period.

Diesel vehicles made up about 3% of U.S. auto sales last year, similar to the share of hybrid cars. Many have viewed diesel as a promising green technology that could grow as the nation heads for more stringent fuel economy standards.

The state Air Resources Board became suspicious after hearing about emissions problems from automotive pollution analysts in Europe, Corey said. Additionally, researchers at West Virginia University, working with the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nongovernmental organization, raised questions about emissions levels.

Air board investigators started testing the vehicles on a special dynamometer ? a kind of treadmill for vehicle testing ? and on the open road using portable equipment.

The investigation showed the cars behaving quite differently on the open road than in EPA testing environments. The agency devised a special test that detected how software on the engine?s electronic control module was fooling the certification tests.

VW programmed the engines to detect certification tests over many years and through three generations of engines, said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis at consulting firm AutoPacific Inc.

Officials did not specify VW?s motivation for cheating, but some benefits might be to increase real-world performance or fuel economy, Sullivan said.

In addition to fines, VW will likely face consumer lawsuits on two fronts, said Steve Berman, a class action attorney in Seattle who has successfully brought such cases against Toyota, Hyundai among others.

Berman said he is already preparing a lawsuit on behalf of a Marin County, Calif. owner who bought a VW because it was marketed as a clean car and ?now they find out it was polluting the environment at 40 times standards.?

VW also will face what is known as a ?diminished value? lawsuit because the vehicles are likely to lose a portion of their resale value because of the problem, he said.

?They will have to retool the emissions system, and that will hurt the performance of the car,? Berman said.

Luke Tonachel, director clean vehicles and fuels project at Natural Resources Defense Council, was puzzled as to why VW would have to cheat.

?Other vehicle manufacturers don?t appear to be doing the same thing, but still get good performance from diesel vehicles,? Tonachel said.

But he fumed at VW?s actions.

?Tightening government standards are making cars cleaner, and it is disturbing to learn that VW is flouting those standards,? Tonachel said. ?The EPA action is important to protecting public health.?

Consumers should not read VW?s action as an indictment of all diesel cars, said Don Anair, research director for the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

?There has been major progress in advancing emissions controls for diesels over the past 10 years,? Anair said. ?That?s a fact. This is a problem with the manufacturer, not the technology.?

Consumer Reports on Friday suspended its recommendation for two of the diesels, the Jetta and Passat.

VW will have to develop a fix to bring the cars into compliance with federal and state clean air, regulators said. Owners can continue to drive the cars ? there is no safety issue ? and can still sell them, regulators said.

But the automaker and regulators may have trouble getting consumers to bring their cars into get fixed ? especially if the fix decreases performance or fuel economy, the main selling points for the cars.

?It is not like the engines are catching on fire,? Sullivan said. ?They will think that if it is not broken, why fix it??

The public relations damage may ultimately be worse for the technology than the VW brand, said TrueCar analyst Eric Lyman. Volkswagen and Audi are largely responsible for selling American consumers on the idea that ?clean? diesel is a viable green alternative.

?This is going to be a blow to the progress they?ve made and may call into question whether this is a clean technology at all,? Lyman said.

Times staff writers Charles Fleming and Samantha Masunaga contributed to this report.

Jerry.hirsch@latimes.com
 
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This'll likely set back diesel perceptions in the US as badly as GM's shitty converted V8 diesel did in the 70's and 80's. CR (because let's face it...average people look at them when buying a car, whether we like them or not...) giving the Passat and Jetta diesel the dreaded "Suspended Recommendation" is another hearty blow to both diesel and the VW brand that worked hard to shake their "unreliable" rep and earn those coveted "red checkmarks."
 
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Volkswagen is in trouble with the US government

Volkswagen is in trouble with the US government

VW has nobody to blame but themselves.

As for setting back diesel - not so much for the trucks as it will in cars. The utility of diesel powered trucks is unquestioned at this point and the VW idiocy won't affect that.

Diesel cars? This is going to hurt, and it's going to hurt VW the worst. Maybe they should have spent the money they blew with the masturbatory Phaeton Of Phailure on, you know, producing cars that complied with emissions laws.

I'd also say that the authorities also need to double check *every* VW model to see if their gassers have a similar issue. At VW's expense.

Rick, the average person is a lot less likely to look at CR than you seem to think. Surveys have noted the decreasing importance of CR in car purchasing decisions, which is why they've been increasingly desperate to get attention of late.
 
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This'll likely set back diesel perceptions in the US as badly as GM's shitty converted V8 diesel did in the 70's and 80's.
Nah, those engines were just legitimately garbage. Packaged in cars that weren't much better. Sold by a company that basically hated their consumers.

I don't see this setting diesel back much, as most people nowadays in the US just equate it with trucks and towing and torque.

Setting VWs reputation back though? Oh yes. Oh fucking yes. I had to reread that article a good three times. That's just an amazingly colossal, 100% intentional, fuck up.

Yeah, everyone loves talking shit on the EPA, but as spectre outlined they're happy to work with manufacturers to set standards. VW skirted that and said fuck your air quality too.

Jesus I hope some heads roll over this. Whoever made that call shouldn't be trusted to flip burgers.
 
Volkswagen is in trouble with the US government

Volkswagen is in trouble with the US government

I wouldn't say the EPA is *happy* to work with manufacturers to *set* standards, but sometimes when a manufacturer goes to them and either says 'we can't make the standard by this deadline but we are trying' or 'we think we have a different way to make this standard' they will grant extensions or even time-limited outright waivers, especially on challenging standards like Tier 2 Bin 5.

That's what makes this so inexplicable. VW *could* have gone to the EPA and said, 'Look, we can't do this in the time allotted, can we get some more time?' In this case, the EPA would likely have worked with them. Instead, they pulled out the Game Shark.

It might have been slightly understandable if it was just a little over - say, fudging it a little because they were within 5% of compliance. But when it's 40 *times* the limit??? Oh, hell no.
 
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Exactly. Maybe "happy" isn't the right word, but they've certainly demonstrated willingness to work with manufacturers who are up front.

Putting up with that is hugely preferable to this shitshow. There's probably a security camera video somewhere of Gina McCarthy throwing a chair after this. :lol:

Edit: oh yeah, they went for broke. Figured if they were cheating they might as well cheat big. Fucking morons.
 
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Jesus I hope some heads roll over this. Whoever made that call shouldn't be trusted to flip burgers.

Sadly this, not at all evil looking man, is both most likely responsible and out of the company.

5396a-ferdinand_piech_a_70_ans.jpg


His goal was to make VW the biggest car company. Probably a good thing this will hinder that as GM has shown being number one means being broke and being filled with incompetent people.
 
That makes it 0 for 3 with companies that made being the largest auto manufacturer in and of itself a goal that managed to screw themselves. Toyota tried it and they came down with Toyota Rot. Mercedes tried and while they already had Mercedes Rot, it got infinitely worse. Now VW's gone for it and managed to completely screw themselves with this cheating.

It's worth noting that VW has *admitted* doing this so it's not speculation or some wild accusation. It is confirmed by no less an authority than VW itself.
 
I wonder if there will be congressional hearings about this. I'll get my C-SPAN 3 stream ready! :p
 
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