California's Air Resources Board has rejected proposals put forward by Volkswagen to fix the 2.0-litre engines affected in its emissions scandal
13 January 2016

Volkswagen's plan to fix the cars affected by its emissions scandal in the US have been rejected by government officials.

In a statement, California's Air Resources Board (CARB) said it has rejected proposals put forward by VW to rectify cars with its 2.0-litre diesel engine, saying the proposals lack detail and contain gaps in information.

The CARB also says that VW's documentation lacks enough information for a "technical evaluation", as well as not addressing "overall impacts on vehicle performance, emissions and safety."

CARB chair Mary D Nichols said: "They continued and compounded the lie, and when they were caught they tried to deny it. The result is thousands of tons of nitrogen oxide that have harmed the health of Californians. They need to make it right."

Volkswagen boss Matthias Müller is due to meet with Gina McCarthy, the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), later today.

A response from Volkswagen stated: "Today's announcement addresses the initial recall plans Volkswagen submitted to CARB in December. We are committed to working co-operatively with CARB and other regulators, and we plan to continue our discussions when we meet with the EPA."

Although the CARB's statement does not openly discuss more financial compensation for US owners, the group says it will "continue its investigation and technical evaluations with the EPA to return the vehicles to legally required emission levels, determine mitigation for past and future environmental harm, and assess penalties."

Although this rejection only applies to VW's fix for 2.0-litre engines, a fix for the firm's 3.0-litre engines is due to be submitted to CARB next month.

This rejection has formed part of questions being put to VW's UK boss Paul Willis today, who has appeared before the Transport Select Committee to give more evidence on the scandal. Willis, who already gave evidence in October, confirmed that UK owners affected by the scandal won't receive compensation like those in the US, "because it's a completely different situation in the UK and Europe. Unlike the US, we have an agreement and a solution here."

Owners in the US have been offered a 'goodwill' package, but Willis believes compensation funds in this country should be used to ensure the uptake of the firm's technical fixes.

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Comments
24

13 January 2016

In the UK VW owners should refuse to have their car fixed until compensation is forthcoming, because as long as there's cars out with 'deceit devices' then there'll be a stain on the companies’ copybook. Might be a good idea anyway if the cars performance figures are worsened in any way!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

13 January 2016

As we saw with Obama and his repeated use of the phrase 'British Petroleum' (a name abandoned nearly 20 years ago) the Americans really go for it when the company at fault is - or is perceived to be - foreign and thus un-American. VW deserve a kicking but probably not quite as vicious as the one they're going to get.

13 January 2016
Bullfinch wrote:

As we saw with Obama and his repeated use of the phrase 'British Petroleum' (a name abandoned nearly 20 years ago) the Americans really go for it when the company at fault is - or is perceived to be - foreign and thus un-American. VW deserve a kicking but probably not quite as vicious as the one they're going to get.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill cost ExxonMobil around £6.0 to £8.0 billion pounds. The Deepwater Horizon disaster is costing BP around £40.0 billion if not more. The scale of both incidents, and its effects, are comparable. I'm sure if BP was a U.S. company they'd be paying less in fines, compensation and clean-up costs.

KG

13 January 2016

Not to minimize the Exxon incident, but the BP one was quite a bit bigger

And people died.

1) Exxon Valdez happened back in 1989 (so there's inflation to take into account when comparing fines or costs). In 1994, the initial award was $5B. But that has been whittled way back because of appeal after appeal and I think they're actually paying out (in fines) a bit less than $1B.

The amount of oil spilled was ~500K barrels.

2) BP agreed to pay $18.7, so clearly they're paying way more than Exxon.

The amount of oil spilled was ~5M barrels (10x larger than Exxon), but further offshore.

The commercial impact was larger simply because there's way more people living Louisiana than Alaska.

Plus 11 people died.

So there's a solid argument that BP should pay more in fines. I don't think it's 18-20 times what Exxon paid, but tolerance for such things has changed a lot from 1989 to 2010.

Now as regards the cleanup costs, if you subtract the fines bit I'm guessing they're paying out...

a) Exxon $9B (maybe $15B when you adjust for inflation?).
b) BP $38B.

I don't know why there's such a large difference there, because the length of affected coastline is not that different between the two incidents.

Maybe other non-fine compensation payouts? Again, there's a lot more people living around the Gulf of Mexico.

13 January 2016

Volkswagen deliberately deceived people by malpractice and fraud. They should be made to suffer whatever is being thrown at them. If that means paying out fines and compensation, buying back all the affected cars or suffering other forms of punishment, then so be it. It'd be a hard lesson for them and will also be a warning to the automotive industry in general that you cannot simply sell cars that are fixed in some way. I wouldn't be surprised if VW cars are no long sold in the U.S. but they've only got themselves to blame.

13 January 2016

and sounds needlessly vengeful. Perhaps in his desire to see investors and top management suffer he has given no thought whatever to the families and livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of innocent VW employees. By no means are these the fat cats of the tabloid imagination.

13 January 2016
Bullfinch wrote:

Perhaps in his desire to see investors and top management suffer he has given no thought whatever to the families and livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of innocent VW employees. By no means are these the fat cats of the tabloid imagination.

Its a sad fact that ultimately it may be innocent employees that suffer for this, but its actually VW management that created this situation so it is they who gave no thought to their employees' welfare (as well as sticking two fingers up at their duped customers and the authorities).

13 January 2016

let the vulnerable Uk and European customers pay for the very aggresive stance the USA will impose with hefty fines.It is ok VW we Brits do not mind the lack of compensation and will willingly pay extra for your cars to cover USA fines and USA customer compensation.BP took a mighty blow so much for the special relationship they were treated like -hit.

13 January 2016

This puts another huge question mark around the lax and careless way that the European authorities passed the inadequate steps that they have allowed the Volkswagen to get away with rather lightly.

13 January 2016
autocar wrote:

CARB chair Mary D Nichols said: "They continued and compounded the lie, and when they were caught they tried to deny it. The result is thousands of tons of nitrogen oxide that have harmed the health of Californians. They need to make it right."

One of the most polluted cities I've ever visited is LA. The whole state is built on the motorcar, public transport is almost non-existent. They have highways that are 8-lanes wide (and still they clog up with traffic), driving thru LA is a nightmare. And folk don't have just one or two cars, they have their pick-ups and their 5mpg motorhomes. It's no excuse whatsoever for what VW have done, but to blame VW for thousands of tonnes of Nitrogen Oxide that have harmed Californians... VW contribution to harming the health Californians won't even register compared to what America has done to harm the lives of Californians. Who are they trying to kid?

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