posted 10 months ago

VW Group Emission Scandal: How Government Is Protecting Drivers

Government reveals how it is protecting the motoring public following Volkswagen Group emission scandal.

Government Seeks Assurance That Defeat Device Limited To VW Group

The UK Government has confirmed how it is protecting the public following the Volkswagen Group emission scandal. It has sought assurances from “all automotive manufacturers - outside the VW Group - for whom it has issued emissions type approvals” that they do not use devices that trick the tests. A cheat of this nature recognises when a car is on a rolling road, then concludes it is being assessed.

A likely trigger is that the wheels spin while the steering wheel is static. The car then moves to a frugal engine setting which cuts emissions to a level not replicated on the road.

Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, told the House of Commons that he expects the VW Group to “do everything necessary to protect its UK customers”.

He added that the Government is carrying out its own investigation to establish whether the use of cheat devices is more widespread.

Despite assurances from other manufacturers, it is testing claims of legitimacy for itself. It is also retesting VW Group cars so it can more easily detect the presence of devices/understand their impact.

The Government is also running a “wider testing programme to understand the real world emissions performance of a broader selection of vehicles in the UK”. Mr McLoughlin said “this is crucial to improve the accuracy of environmental assessments” that are “used for both air quality management and infrastructure investment”.

It is testing a representative selection including brand new vehicles, and best sellers. He added “I have secured agreement from my opposite number in Germany that our technical teams will work cooperatively together. This will enable us to reduce duplication and ensure a wide range of vehicles are tested.”

Motorists Will Not Pay More Road Tax

The Government has also confirmed that vehicles with a defeat device will not be moved to more expensive road tax bands, even though a modern vehicle is taxed on its emissions. The lower the emissions the lower the cost.

Mr McLoughlin said “Our priority is to protect the public (and) we are playing our part by ensuring no one will end up with higher tax costs as a result of this scandal”. 

AA President, Edmund King, described this decision as “common sense”. He argued that “When customers bought these cars it was in good faith. They bought them based on the details that were available at the time, (and) to add to their tax would be grossly unfair.”