Volkswagen to Pay Heavy Price for Diesel Auto Computer Trickery
NEWS ANALYSIS: German automaker Volkswagen reached an agreement with the U.S. authorities to buy back or fix diesel cars that were programmed to produce deceptive pollution emission test results.The cost of deception has reached new heights in a settlement Volkswagen reached with the U.S. and California regulators on June 28 to fix or buy back diesel autos that were programmed to fudge standard pollution emission tests. Original estimates of the cost to VW of building an emission test "defeat device" into its diesel cars was originally about $10 billion, but now that number has grown to $15 billion. The settlement, which was reached by the automaker, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency, along with the California Air Resources Board, requires the company to buy back or fix all of its 4-cylinder diesel cars made since 2010. Volkswage's fortunes began to unravel on September 18, 2015 when emissions testers decided to see how the company's highly-touted clean diesel engine would fare in a real-world driving test rather than in the static test normally used for emissions testing. What they found shook the automotive world.
Diesel VW cars emitted up to 40 times more pollutants, mainly oxides of nitrogen, than were allowed under U.S. law during the real-world driving tests. It turns out that VW engineers had programmed the vehicles so that their emissions computer could detect when the car was being tested for emissions and when it was not. To do that, the car's computer checked to see if the front drive wheels of the cars were turning when the others weren't.