Dieselgate 10.08.15: Cutbacks and Cheapskates

Congress may be the least of VW’s worries.

byThe Drive Staff| PUBLISHED Oct 8, 2015 2:05 PM
Dieselgate 10.08.15: Cutbacks and Cheapskates

In two weeks, The Drive will sample the new 2016 Volkswagen Passat during its media introduction. In two weeks, Volkswagen may be a very different company. Here is the latest on the German conglomerate’s diesel emissions scandal.

If Only It Were VW’s Sausage Getting Grilled

On Oct. 8, Volkswagen USA CEO Michael Horn will testify before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In his previously filed testimony, Horn said the company would devise three distinct fixes for the affected TDI models, as each of the 2-liter diesel engines is from a different product generation (some, for example, include urea injection for scrubbing harmful NOx emissions). Two other EPA directors will testify. Volkswagen’s famous currywurst—the delicious sausage produced by and for the company’s employees—will not be on the menu.

Next Bugatti in Jeopardy?

Apparently, the mounting costs associated with compliance, lawsuits and penalties has CEO Matthias Müller thinking frugal. In an announcement to employees in Wolfsburg, Muller said there would be “massive savings” and in Bloomberg’s words, will put “everything that’s not absolutely vital on hold.” Reading Müller’s tea leaves, this could spell trouble for Bugatti’s successor to the Veyron, which The Drive learned about from CEO Wolfgang Durheimer. Not that it would be cancelled, merely that it may stay on the shelf a while longer. Either way, we’d be gutted were this machine—chatter suggests 1,500 hp and 280-plus mph—to get lost in a cloud of diesel smoke.

You Can’t Buy a 2016 TDI

Volkswagen and Audi will not sell any 2016 diesel models in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. The company voluntarily withdrew applications from the Environmental Protection Agency—part of the normal process in certifying new cars for sale—and will not resubmit them until the agency approves the “auxiliary emissions control device” fitted to these vehicles. Volkswagen has not said what this device does, mind, but it is an integral part of its cleanup strategy.

Did VW Kill Anyone?

The Associated Press and the New York Times have run stories seeking to quantify how many deaths in the U.S. from respiratory illnesses might be attributed to VW’s emissions-cheating TDI cars. Everything is caveated very, very heavily, though; a school bus belching thick black diesel smoke is doing more harm to plants, animals and poor elderly people than anyone with a Jetta. Still, brain-tickling reading here.