Volkswagen were caught red-handed cheating the system. Their diesel vehicles were fitted with software that enabled emission control systems during Government laboratory tests, but disabled these systems during real-world conditions.
Its been claimed that the difference between the lab and the road is between five times to 40 times the amount of Greenhouse gasses.
Why would they do this?
The running theory is that a proper emission control system costs more, and in an effort to reduce costs they fitted the cars with a cheaper system. The problem with the cheaper system is that it has a negative effect on performance and fuel economy. Their solution? Fit the cheaper system and only enable it during emission testing, allowing the car to be free to perform and pollute in the real world.
Is this so bad?
Short answer, yes. Its terrible that a company as large as the Volkswagen group would knowingly cheat the system. A company with a larger R&D budget than most other manufacturers. They have lied not only to their customers, but to almost every Government and environmental agency around the world.
This is bad for the industry, bad for their reputation, and very bad for the environment.
And that perspective?
Lets get it straight that there have been no direct deaths related to this incident.
The Toyota “Accidental Acceleration” or “Poorly Designed Floor Mats” incident resulted in at least 37 deaths.
In 2014 Honda was accused of not reporting 1,729 incidents in which one of its vehicles caused an injury or death. This includes eight deaths that were directly related to defective airbags produced by the Takata Corporation.
General Motors has also recently been involved in their own recall because of a faulty ignition switch that could switch of a car in motion, resulting in GM paying compensation for 124 deaths. This issue was known for at least 10 years prior to the recall.
These few examples represent tens of millions of cars around the world, and many, many deaths and injuries. And in that context, please… lets just have some perspective for what is actually going on over in Wolfsburg.