Volkswagen faces pressure in U.S. to buy back older diesel cars
Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), which is set to provide detailed plans to fix vehicles that do not comply with U.S. emissions standards, faced more pressure on Thursday from officials in Washington and California to buy back older diesel cars.
A California Air Resources Board spokesman said officials at the automaker are scheduled to meet Friday with CARB and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to present detailed proposals for recalling and fixing about 482,000 vehicles sold in the United States with diesel engines that emit more smog-forming pollutants than allowed by law.
California has set a Nov. 20 deadline for Volkswagen to come up with a plan to fix the diesel cars affected by its rigging of emissions tests. The carmaker said in September that around 11 million diesel powered cars were affected worldwide, including 482,000 in the United States.
"I am personally hopeful we will be able to announce something soon about the remedies ... and which we are discussing with the agencies in upcoming days," Michael Horn, head of Volkswagen's U.S. operations, said at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday.
The CARB spokesman also confirmed that the agency's head, Mary Nichols, told the German daily Handelsblatt that Volkswagen might have to buy back some of the older diesel models. "I think it is quite likely that they will end up buying back at least some portion of the fleet from the current owners," the paper quoted Nichols as saying in an interview to be published on Friday. Newer cars might get easy software fixes and medium generation ones might need software and hardware components to fix the issue, Nichols said, according to the paper. But older cars might have to be repurchased rather than fitted with new pollution control devices.
Separately, U.S. Senators Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Thursday released a letter calling on the automaker to buy back diesel vehicles that don't meet pollution standards. The lawmakers noted that Volkswagen had signaled it could buy back cars sold in Europe that have inaccurate carbon dioxide emissions ratings.
Volkswagen has admitted understating CO2 emissions, and thus understating fuel consumption, for about 800,000 vehicles sold in Europe, and possibly more.
“We additionally urge you to offer drivers the fair market value for these vehicles that was in place before VW’s illegal activity was made publicly known,” the lawmakers wrote.
VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan declined to comment Thursday on the prospects of a U.S. buyback for some of the diesel vehicles. She said VW planned to meet with U.S. regulators on Friday to lay out plans and discuss remedies to fix the 482,000 vehicles.
This. On the one hand, California will be California, but on the other, I'm glad something's being done and VW's "we'll fix your Gen1 (CBEA, CJAA) end of 2016, maybe" attitude isn't being tolerated.Well it appears that someone ::insert "California" here:: is forcing VW's hand.
Having buyers/customers that are angry/peeved over what they thought was a "green" and environmentally responsible automobile choice is one thing. Having customers that are no longer able to have their cars on the road and incurring fines if those cars continue to operate in a given State is a whole different ball game.
VW says CO2 emissions scandal not as bad as feared
December 9, 2015
By Andreas Cremer
BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> understated carbon dioxide emissions on many fewer vehicles than initially feared, it said on Wednesday, providing some relief to the automaker as it battles a wider diesel emissions scandal affecting up to 11 million cars.
Europe's biggest motor manufacturer said its investigations found it had understated fuel consumption, and so carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, on only about 36,000 vehicles, compared with its preliminary estimate of around 800,000.
It also said it had found no evidence of unlawful changing of CO2 emissions data.
"We view this as positive and suspect that the previously guided for negative earnings impact of 2 billion euros will in fact end up being materially lower," said Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, referring to Volkswagen's (VW) initial estimate of the cost of inaccurate CO2 data.
At 1405 GMT (0905 EDT), VW's preference shares were up 7.3 percent at 133.05 euros.
VW's update came as its supervisory board was meeting to discuss progress with the investigations it launched in September after admitting to cheating diesel emissions tests in the United States. It said two months later it had also understated CO2 emissions on both diesel and petrol vehicles.
Chief Executive Matthias Mueller and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch will publish intermediate results from the inquiries at 1000 GMT (0500 EDT) on Thursday. They will not reveal names of those responsible, but may explain why the company failed to find the wrongdoing, two people familiar with the matter said.
While understating CO2 emissions was the smaller of the two scandals engulfing VW, some analysts had said it could have a bigger impact on sales, arguing drivers might be more worried about fuel economy than pollution.
"The scale of VW's problems appears to be declining," said NordLB analyst Frank Schope.
However, he kept a "sell" rating on VW shares, forecasting its global sales would fall as much as 4 percent next year in an industry that looks likely to grow by a similar amount.
Industry data last week showed sales of VW-brand vehicles in Britain plunged 20 percent in November compared with the same month the year before, following a similar drop in the United States.
Ernst-Robert Nouvertne, who runs two VW dealerships near Cologne in Germany, didn't think Wednesday's update would greatly restore consumer confidence in the business.
"This is all very technical stuff. What the consumer will bear in mind is that VW has fudged emissions data, and I'm certain this will cause us lasting problems with our sales."
VW's update also raised fresh questions about its handling of its scandals, which have wiped almost a fifth off the value of its preference shares, forced out its long-time CEO and driven it to its first quarterly loss in at least 15 years.
The company said its initial estimate of vehicles with misleading CO2 emissions data was a "worst case scenario" which had not come true.
In November, VW listed 130 models from group brands including Audi and Skoda as being affected.
On Wednesday, it said its most recent measurements showed only nine VW-badged models with higher than stated CO2 levels.
Emissions of those models, including the 2.0 liter TDI Golf hatchback and the 2.0 liter TDI Passat, deviated on average by "a few grams" from what had been declared, corresponding to 0.1-0.2 liters of extra fuel usage per 100 kilometers, it said.
VW has set aside around 6.7 billion euros to help meet the costs of its diesel emissions scandal, but analysts think the final bill could run into tens of billions of euros to cover regulatory fines, lawsuits and vehicle refits.
Wednesday's board meeting will also hear from the head of the company's Audi brand on what steps he plans to take to fix luxury diesel cars fitted with software found to have enabled its engines to evade U.S. emissions limits.
($1 = 0.9146 euros)
(Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Mark Potter)
Lotta TDI drivers in the US have the same attitude: VW is not going to "update" my ECU software with new software that applies MORE EGR, retards injection timing, or increases Adblue consumption (the latter probably being the least problematical).I dunno about in the US, but over here (NZ), nobody seems to give a crap...
Yeah, but you'd probably have the wherewithall to press the brakes HARD, push in the clutch (or slap the slushbox into neutral) or maybe even turn off the ignition instead of just going for a several minute-long unintended ride to the scene of a crash.PS, If I was desperate enough to own a Toyota, and had the unintended acceleration issue, I'd have been IMPRESSED! It would have finally done something exciting!