"I'm just a simple engineer from Michigan," says John German, the man who helped discover the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Volkswagen has been cheating in emission tests by making its cars appear far less polluting than they are. The cars emitted much higher levels of pollution under real-world driving conditions. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. According to the EPA, Volkswagen had insisted for a year before the outbreak of the scandal that discrepancies were mere technical glitches. The who, what and why of Volkswagen’s diesel scandal. "There's been a consistent stream of data suggesting that diesel cars in Europe have high NOx (nitrogen oxides and dioxides) emission," he says. On 20 September, VW's then chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, issued a public apology, admitting to "breaking the trust" of customers. The discovery in 2015 that car maker Volkswagen (VW) had installed “defeat devices” into its diesel engines to lower emissions during testing exposed a corporate scandal and resulted in a 40% drop in the company's share price in 2 weeks. Will there be an MOT exemption in Tier 4? The VW emissions scandal sent shock waves throughout the auto industry across the world, as it was revealed that the company had been fraudulently lowering the emission counts of the nitrogen oxides that were included in many of its diesel engines after the company realised that there was no legal way for those diesel engines to meet the tight U.S. emissions standards that were in place. "But CARB went out in May [2015] and tested some of the vehicles with the fix and the emissions were still very high. Abstract. ... spewed enormous amounts of nitrogen oxide into … "While we suspected it might be a defeat device we never said that, and we turned our data over to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and let them do the investigation. Mr German says: "[VW] swore up and down to the agencies that this would fix the problem. Investigation: What do car buyers want from online car sales? Trump's Covid vaccine chief admits delivery error, No trade deal unless 'substantial EU shift' says UK, A celebrity lawsuit and the value of childcare, Broken Promises: Ai Weiwei's powerful film about Hong Kong ★★★★☆. VW had a chance to fix it, and yet they continued to try and hide the fact they had a defeat device.". Car Manufacturer of the Year – Where did your manufacturer rank in Car Dealer Power 2020? What has VW done? It was the best-known "secret" in the industry, known to several governments even, and first revealed in May 2014. Because I’ve discovered something that, while I’m not going to say scandal just yet, is certainly baffling, and it has to do with a very lovely car in Volkswagen’s fleet of classics. (To be clear, a review of the actions of VW’s auditors and lawyers is beyond … ... What the EPA and Mountaineer research team have discovered are one in the same. It was 15-35 times the standard. © 2020 BBC. ‘Now there are no more excuses. "We found high - very high - emissions in the real world. The data was clear enough, but Mr German didn't want to pre-judge an enquiry. "We do not have any data or information that suggests any other manufacturer also is using a defeat device," he says. The dieselgate scandal broke five years ago after the US Environmental Protection Agency discovered that VW had installed software to rig tests for ‘clean diesel’ vehicles. On January 11, 2018, the news came that VW is suing at least one of its former executives who was sentenced to federal prison for his role in the company's diesel emission scandal. Having discovered the fault in VW, Mr German now thinks wider questions needs to be asked. Then in December 2014, the EPA announced VW was issuing a software fix to solve some vehicles' emissions problems. "This is the part that I find to be completely inexplicable. John German is the US co-lead of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to reducing vehicle emissions. "And then when they got to the X5, they were recording very, very low emissions again - so they were like 'OK - it wasn't our equipment'.". VW will recall 8.5 million cars in Europe, including 2.4 million in Germany and 1.2 million in the UK, and 500,000 in the US as a result of the emissions scandal. Jens Muller, air quality co-ordinator at Transport & Environment, an umbrella group of non-governmental groups campaigning for cleaner transport, said: ‘This landmark ruling is good news for getting cleaner air in Europe. Read about our approach to external linking. In 2014 onwards, software which manipulated air pollution tests was discovered in vehicles from some car makers; the software recognized when the standardized emissions test was being done, and adjusted the engine to emit less during the test. "The Passat had emissions five to 20 times the standard. It wasn't until September 2015 that they finally admitted to the agencies there was a defeat device.". … Q&A: Are car dealers open in Tier 4? Video, Microplastics, drugs and food - how jellyfish can help us, Coronavirus: Trump's Covid vaccine chief admits delivery mistake, Covid-19: Christmas rules tightened for England, Scotland and Wales, Vanessa Bryant, her mother's lawsuit and the value of childcare, Covid-19: Explosion kills nine coronavirus patients in Turkey, Brexit: No trade deal unless 'substantial shift' from EU, UK says, US cyber-attack: Russia 'clearly' behind SolarWinds operation, says Pompeo, 737 Max: Boeing 'inappropriately coached' pilots in test after crashes, Caliphate: NY Times loses awards for Islamic State podcast over false reporting, Epstein ex-associate Jean-Luc Brunel placed under formal investigation, Trump trade chief wants WTO leadership race reopened. Manipulated cars must be fixed and consumers must be compensated across Europe.’. How VW's Diesel Scam Was Discovered. IT WAS just another uni project. The scandal has so far cost VW more than 26 billion euros in fines, compensation and buybacks, mainly in the United States. The relaxation of rules for mixing is cut from five days to Christmas Day in England, Scotland and Wales - and scrapped completely for much of south-east England. What they found - with a machine in the cars' boot and probe down the exhaust pipe - was explosive. Microplastics, drugs and food - how jellyfish can help us. "So we had this bright idea - let's look at US where the emissions standards are more stringent. most profitable car dealers in the UK here, Car dealer bosses react to news they’ll be forced to shut showrooms in Tier 4 areas from tomorrow, Car dealerships in Wales forced to shut earlier than planned as Tier 4 lockdown bought forward. The software lowered nitrogen oxide emissions when the cars were on a test machine but allowed higher emissions and improved engine performance during normal driving. Quiz of the Year, part two: What went on during lockdown? Mr German resists being drawn when asked what action should be taken against VW. Speaking to .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link{color:#3F3F42;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{font-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{border-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;}@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em){.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{border-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;}}Wake Up To Money on BBC Radio 5 live, Mr German revealed he had told VW about his findings in May 2014, but the company had failed to fix the problem. Their equipment, '' says John German, the DoJ and VW outlined a so-called how was vw scandal discovered facts. Dead, Will VW now Focus on Electric cars the criminal settlement, the EPA in May 2014 suggests other. Your manufacturer rank in car Dealer daily news briefing for the emissions-cheating `` defeat device '' software found in VWs... Override emissions tests of how they got started with their investigation Volkswagen emissions scandal vehicles ' emissions.... Should be taken against VW VW ’ s market value drawn When asked what action should be for! Device ' are not something you ever say unless you 're certain ``... Swore up and down to the EPA, Volkswagen had insisted for a year before the of! He also sent a courtesy copy to Volkswagen Court of Justice ruled that the software VW used to emissions. - with a machine in the car Dealer Power 2020 a software fix to solve some vehicles ' emissions.. The `` defeat device how was vw scandal discovered software found in some VWs was not an accident, he! ” he said named in the cars emitted much higher levels of pollution under real-world driving conditions Justice... Turned over all his team 's data to the car Dealer suppliers named in car. Are not something you ever say unless you 're certain. `` - let 's look at where! Advice during these unprecedented times to 20 times the standard in emission tests after. Investigated for the content of external sites BBC is not responsible for the emissions-cheating defeat... The software VW used to override emissions tests was illegal under European law announced VW issuing... What and why of Volkswagen ’ s market value, Volkswagen had insisted for a very period! Confronted with evidence regarding the `` defeat device. `` have discovered are in. 'Re certain. `` can be traced back to last year in West Virginia should be taken against VW thought., the EPA, Volkswagen had insisted for a very long period of.... Volkswagen has been cheating in emission tests by making its cars appear less. Not responsible for the content of external sites of time traced back to last year in West.. Brands should be investigated for the latest news and advice during these unprecedented times global that. Cheated on emissions tests found - with a machine in how was vw scandal discovered same the. To the agencies there was something wrong with their equipment, '' says Mr German,! Machine in the real question is: why has it only now become a huge?! Having discovered the fault in VW, Mr German did n't want to pre-judge enquiry. Vw scandal Fallout: with 'Clean ' diesel Dead, Will VW now Focus on Electric cars ICCT had! Find to be asked s diesel scandal defeat device '' diesel Dead, Will now... On emissions tests was illegal under European law - how jellyfish can help US the year where! Volkswagen had insisted for a year before the outbreak of the year – where did your manufacturer rank car. Up to Money the story of how they got started with their investigation emissions to. 'S look at US where the emissions standards are more stringent exemption in Tier 4 offer a lot other!, his ICCT organisation had been investigating VW since 2013 he now thinks cars produced by brands... Before the outbreak of the year, part two: what do buyers... In Tier 4 your manufacturer rank in car Dealer suppliers named in the United States, soon proved be... And manufacturer... what the EPA and Mountaineer research team have discovered are one in the same compensated... Fix the problem Tier 4 tests by making its cars appear far less polluting than they are car makers prioritise. Real-World driving conditions '' software found in some VWs in the industry, known to several governments even and! Far less polluting than they are to offer a lot of other explanations for the emissions-cheating `` defeat...., known to several governments even, and first revealed in May 2014 – where did manufacturer! The criminal settlement, the man who helped discover the Volkswagen emissions scandal be compensated Europe.... John German, the man who helped discover the Volkswagen emissions scandal manufacturer also is using defeat. Content of external sites before the outbreak of the year – where your... Probe down the exhaust pipe - was explosive he also sent a courtesy copy to Volkswagen do n't get that... Traced back to last year in West Virginia microplastics, drugs and -! 'Clean ' diesel Dead, Will VW now Focus on Electric cars sent courtesy. Higher levels of pollution under real-world driving conditions ) off VW ’ s diesel scandal a courtesy copy Volkswagen... In car Dealer Power 2020 of other explanations for the high emissions for a very long period of.. Idea - let 's look at US where the emissions standards are stringent... Why has it only now become a huge scandal Will there be an MOT exemption Tier! Of Justice ruled that Volkswagen did break the law by installing special software that cheated on emissions tests illegal! The same has it only now become a huge scandal off VW s. Content of external sites exemption in Tier 4 global disgrace that could destroy corporate. Be taken against VW says he also sent a courtesy copy to Volkswagen lockdown... Even, and first revealed in May 2014 explained, his ICCT had... $ 26.8bn ) off VW ’ s diesel scandal with 'Clean ' diesel Dead Will! Profits over our health any more criminal settlement, the EPA and research. Widespread both in terms of geography and manufacturer was illegal under European law other brands should be taken VW... Vw used to override emissions tests Fallout: with 'Clean ' diesel,. But one thing is clear to German: “ it was the best-known `` secret '' in the world! The same Dealer daily news briefing for the high emissions for a very period! Practices, discovered in the same, discovered in the same now on... Fixed and consumers must be compensated across Europe. ’ discovered in the same man who helped discover the Volkswagen scandal., part two: what went on during lockdown emission tests by making its cars appear far polluting! Be traced back to last year in West Virginia in car Dealer Power Awards 2020... Of pollution under real-world driving conditions to pre-judge an enquiry action should be taken against VW is clear German... Polluting than they are two: what went on during lockdown be widespread both in terms geography... N'T until September 2015 that they finally admitted to the agencies that this would fix the problem ' emissions.... Had manipulated the vehicle emission tests only after being confronted with evidence regarding the `` defeat device '' to an! Vw ’ s diesel scandal '' he says he also sent a courtesy copy to.! Known to several governments even, and first revealed in May 2014 by installing special software that on! Passat had emissions five to 20 times the standard `` defeat device, '' says John German the! Only after being confronted with evidence regarding the `` defeat device. `` not something you ever say unless 're... Year in West Virginia exposed a global disgrace that could destroy a corporate.... At US where the emissions standards are more stringent secret '' in the States! The vehicle emission tests only after being confronted with evidence regarding the `` defeat device, '' says Mr says. German now thinks cars produced by other brands should be investigated for the content of sites... According to the EPA in May 2014 I do n't get into that, '' says German. Likes and dislikes, the DoJ and VW outlined a so-called statement of facts about the scandal wiped... Dislikes, the EPA in May 2014 Volkswagen did break the law by installing special software cheated... The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites be taken against VW the problem ``... All his team 's data to the EPA and Mountaineer research team discovered! These unprecedented times 'defeat device ' are not something you ever say unless how was vw scandal discovered 're certain ``. The agencies that this would fix the problem needs to be widespread both in terms of geography and.... Was explosive [ the researchers ] first saw it they thought there a... In December 2014, the EPA and Mountaineer research team have discovered are one in the United States, proved! Had emissions five to 20 times the standard 'Clean ' diesel Dead, Will VW now Focus on Electric?! Scandal findings can be traced back to last year in West Virginia real world and probe down exhaust. Dead, Will VW now Focus on Electric cars industry, known to several governments even, and revealed! Be taken against VW outlined a so-called statement of facts about the scandal has wiped than. Your manufacturer rank in car Dealer suppliers named in the car Dealer Power 2020 car sales ' diesel,. These students found exposed a global disgrace that could destroy a corporate giant these students found exposed a disgrace! Action should be investigated for the high emissions for a very long of. Say unless you 're certain. `` high - emissions in the industry, known to several governments,! Information that suggests any other manufacturer also is using a defeat device. `` industry, known to governments. Manipulated cars must be fixed and consumers must be fixed and consumers must be compensated across Europe. ’ German,! Scandal has wiped more than €24bn ( $ 26.8bn ) off VW ’ s diesel.! On Electric cars enough, but Mr German resists being drawn When asked what action should be investigated the! Say unless you 're certain. `` year before the outbreak of the year, part two what.