• THE AAP CORNER

    VW Emissions Recall: Initial Tests Reveal Minimal Impact for Consumers

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    The FIA says that tests conducted by its member clubs in Europe provide reassurance to car owners that their vehicles should not be adversely affected by the current recall, in response to the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

    Andrew McKellar, FIA secretary-general for Automobile Mobility and Tourism, said, “Given the magnitude of this scandal the test results are arguably surprising. Based on these initial results, affected car owners should be able to go ahead with the recall service, and we call on the relevant manufacturers to expedite this process.”

    Two models of the Volkswagen group, currently under recall in Europe, the Audi Avant 2.0 TDI and VW Golf 2.0 TDI BMT, were emission-tested before and after the manufacturer’s recall and software update.

    The tests, performed by FIA member clubs ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V or General German Automobile Club), TCS (Touring Club Suisse or the Swiss Automobile Association) and OEAMTC (the Austrian Automobile Club), focused on identifying whether or not technical adjustments, applied as part of the recall, have any impact on emission levels, fuel consumption or engine performance in the affected vehicles. The tests also examined driveability of the vehicles to identify any potential changes in the vehicle handling performance.

    The main results of the tests show no significant differences in nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption when measured using the current test cycle required under European legislation (the New European Driving Cycle, NEDC).

    McKellar cautioned that the tests should not be taken out of context. “It is important to remember that these results are derived from only a very limited sample of affected models. Moreover, there are additional parameters that need to be looked at, including the impact on particulate emissions, before we can be more definitive about the full implications of the recall process,” he said.

    One additional point of interest from the tests is the apparent discrepancy between measured carbon dioxide emissions and those certified by the manufacturer under international regulations. Even before the recall, fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions were found to be seven to 15 percent higher than specified by the manufacturer, as measured by the NEDC test cycle.

    “This anomaly is of some concern and needs to be explained by the manufacturer,” McKellar said.

    Notwithstanding the results of these initial tests, the FIA has reinforced the importance of stronger scrutiny by regulators and support for independent testing to safeguard the interests of consumers.

    “The FIA strongly believes that it is essential to improve consumer information and increase transparency with end users. We hope that the findings of this test can contribute to restoring consumers’ trust, and build a better understanding of vehicle performance in real driving conditions,” McKellar said.

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