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Volkswagen boss tells MPs defeat device fix will not affect fuel economy

Exhaust emissions pollution

The mpg of 1.2 million cars and vans fitted with a defeat device will be unaffected after the software is fixed, says the boss of Volkswagen Group UK.

Paul Willis told MPs on the transport select committee that the carmaker was currently working with the German authorities to establish a fix which was “durable” and one which would not affect fuel consumption. “There cannot be any change in miles per gallon,” he said.

In all, 60 models, five brands – Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Audi, Škoda and Seat – three different engines and two different transmissions have been implicated in the scandal.

The 1.2 million vehicles affected in the UK include, 508,276 Volkswagen cars and 79,838 commercial vehicles. Audi has said 393,450 of its vehicles are also fitted with the software device, along with 76,773 Seat vehicles and 131,569 Škoda cars.

The vast majority – around 700,000 2-litre and 1.2-litre models – will only require a software patch to rectify the problem.

This morning (October 13), Volkswagen Group's CEO Herbert Diess made a statement explaining the group would accelerate electric vehicle development, and reduce R&D investments "by some one billion euros per year" as part of a wider efficiency programme across the business globally.

"I apologise to our customers," Paul Willis, managing director of Volkswagen Group UK

However, Willis told MPs that more than 400,000 cars in the UK fitted with the defeat device will require fuel injectors to be replaced as well as a software fix.

He confirmed that a voluntary recall will begin in January, with 2-litre vehicles being dealt with in the first quarter, and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

He said: “I apologise to our customers for it taking so long, it’s better to be thorough and get it absolutely right.”

However, he acknowledged that the timescale was dependent on the network being able to cope with the repairs that would need to be carried out. “There is some risk involved in that, but the goal is to get vehicles fixed by the end of 2016,” he said.

That will be cold comfort to almost half of the respondents to a Fleet News poll, who said that the manufacturer’s timescale was not acceptable.


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  • bob the engineer - 13/10/2015 08:47

    If I had one of the affected VW's I would wait taking it to be fixed until some of the motoring press have had a chance to test one before and after. Its beyond reason to accept a remap can reduce the emission substantially, retain fuel economy and not affect the 'drive' at all. It makes no sense then why they cheated. Perhaps they are going to run it leaner and hope not many things melt before the car reaches end of life....

    • Sage & Onion - 13/10/2015 12:41

      I would agree.

  • Rob Chisholm, Applewood Vehicle Finance Ltd - 13/10/2015 11:40

    It's going to extend service and repair lead times with these vehicles blocking up the workshops next year. Let's hope most of the work gets factored into regular service visits.

    • Sage & Onion - 13/10/2015 12:35

      I agree, as well as this commitment to put things right, I think that VW group also need to give a commitment that they will accept any and all "non-franchised" servicing for 2016 without having any affect on warranty or post-warranty policy decisions.

  • eric.bristow@hobartuk.com - 13/10/2015 11:41

    We should trust what VW say because...................??

  • Sage & Onion - 13/10/2015 12:40

    Until affordable hydrogen technology is widely available and supported, I do think that petrol/hybrid and plug-in hybrids especially are the way forward, so to announce an acceleration of electric vehicle development is the right decision in my opinion. I think the scandal has damaged diesels in general rather than just VW.

    • bob the engineer - 13/10/2015 17:57

      Yes, since being a plug in hybrid owner (even with an engine but a nice insulated petrol one) I have become hyper sensitive to diesels, even the best and latest make such a clatter still when you walk by one just never noticed so much before. Sadly hybrid development will be killed by the government sooner or later, they are too addicted on the motorist as a cash cow and as more adopt, the more they will reduce the benefits, as is already happening. Probably be back to diesels then, again. The inherent problems of short term government tenures making 1 term policies not 1 generation policies.

  • old smokie - 13/10/2015 21:40

    So VW what will it affect ????

  • Colin - 14/10/2015 05:11

    The reassurances over fuel economy don't wash. Once the fix is done it will be our word against VW's as to the effect on MPG, one can imagine the arguments. VW want us to trust them on this, why should we?

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