Fleet News

800,000 Volkswagen Group cars may have incorrect CO2 emissions

Volkswagen Group has admitted that up to 800,000 of its vehicles may have higher CO2 emissions than stated.

The company discovered "irregularities" while investigating NOx emissions following the recent diesel scandal.

A statement said: "During the course of internal investigations irregularities were found when determining type approval CO2 levels. Based on present knowledge around 800,000 vehicles from the Volkswagen Group could be affected."

Volkswagen's board will now have to converse with type approval agencies regarding the consequences of these findings. 

The company continued: "Under the ongoing review of all processes and workflows in connection with diesel engines it was established that the CO2 levels and thus the fuel consumption figures for some models were set too low during the CO2 certification process. The majority of the vehicles concerned have diesel engines."

HM Revenue and Customs has previously stated that, in regard to the NOx emssions scandal, vehicles would not be subject to additional benefit in kind taxation if software changes increased CO2, but it is unclear if its position will change in this case, where CO2 emissions have been incorrect from point of manufacture.

A Volkswagen Group spokesman told Automotive News Europe models affected include VW, Seat and Skoda vehicles that use 1.4-, 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesels built in 2012 and later, as well as the new 1.4-litre ACT petrol engine.

The fuel efficiency deviations were in some cases between 10% to 15%, the spokesman said.

Professor Colin Tourick, Grant Thornton professor of automotive management at the University of Buckingham business school, said: "This is the first revelation that could substantially dent VW's fleet sales.

"If company car drivers think that VW's CO2 emission figures are understated it might make them opt for another manufacturer when choosing their next company car. VW needs to clarify this issue rapidly to avoid any damage to sales."

“From the very start I have pushed hard for the relentless and comprehensive clarification of events. We will stop at nothing and nobody. This is a painful process, but it is our only alternative. For us, the only thing that counts is the truth. That is the basis for the fundamental realignment that Volkswagen needs”, Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, added.

“The Board of Management of Volkswagen AG deeply regrets this situation and wishes to underscore its determination to systematically continue along the present path of clarification and transparency.”

In cooperation with the responsible authorities, Volkswagen will do everything in its power to clarify the further course of action as quickly as possible and ensure the correct CO2 classification for the vehicles affected.

Volkswagen Group says vehicle safety is unaffected.

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  • I Marsh - 04/11/2015 11:28

    I was reading a test on three SUV's in Auto Express this week (Evoke, X1 and Q3). The test mpg on the Evoke and X1 was 20% worse than the official EU Urban figure (the least economical figure given in the official test). Oddly, the Audi was only a fraction out. The EU tests need looking at. How about each vehicle has to use at least two full tanks/charges at 5 and 20 celcius to get a handle on economy and emissions, not the less than 10 mile laboratory test "route" currently used?

  • Carcoat Damphands - 04/11/2015 12:30

    First Diesel, now Petrol. Lets just hope their PHEV, the GTE, is not affected by this. Surely a CO2 of 39g/km and fuel consumption of 166mpg is accurate.

  • Stephen Porter - 04/11/2015 14:26

    It is absolutely outrageous that our government via HMRC has ruled out chasing UK taxpayers for underpaid tax on BIK. The rules are clear. Everyone should have their BIK recalculated for the whole period of this VW fraud. Everyone affected should be sent a new tax bill. The government should sue VW for recompense for the cost of all these recalculations, and each affected tax payer should sue VW for the extra tax - that they wouldn't had to have paid if they hadn't chosen a VW ! What do you think the German government would be doing if VW was a UK owned company ???

    • Sage & Onion - 04/11/2015 14:37

      Not a very wise suggestion. For drivers who have chosen a car in good faith and have been driven by HMRC to go for the lowest "official" co2, and who's company have paid a premium for it, why should they and their employer have their tax position re-calculated? Yes HMRC may have a case against VW for loss of tax revenue, but that would only ever be a fair case when all other manufacturers have undergone the same technical and media scrutiny as VW have. If you read I Marsh's comment above he hits the nail on the head. For all the negative publicity that VW are getting at the moment their cars are far more fuel efficient (and reliable) than their competitors in real world driving conditions, and we all know that the official test cycle is unrealistic.

  • Sage & Onion - 04/11/2015 14:44

    Are there any other Fleet Managers prepared to do their own analysis of their fleet to determine real world fuel consumption and then convert it to litres/100km and then calculate the real world co2 in g/km for each make and model? I just have. The results are heavily in VW group's favour. And oddly, other manufacturers models had a lower "official" test co2 than VW models but much worse actual real world driving co2. Draw your own conclusions but do your own analysis before you embark on any witch hunt for VW group.

    • Sage & Onion - 04/11/2015 14:48

      I should add that my comparison was VW against only one other manufacturer as we have a restricted badge policy but it included over 60 cars and fuel used in the last 12 months. And VW had the smaller sample size of about 34% of the total sample.

      • Sage & Onion - 04/11/2015 14:53

        I should also add again that I also included a couple of petrol hybrids (non-VW group) in the analysis and they had the best real world fuel economy and lowest actual co2 than them all!

  • Peter - 04/11/2015 15:50

    Regardless of the deficiencies of the current testing regime if it's proven VW have 'cheated' the CO2 testing surely HMRC should go after them for defrauding the taxpayer. It's unfair to go after the drivers who have purchased in good faith but because of these actions HMRC may have missed out on £££'s in tax revenues from BIK & VED. VW have benefited from higher sales due to their CO2 figures, if they or any other manufacturer have deliberately cheated on the test then they should have to pay for the consequences. It seems other manufacturers are in the clear or I'm pretty certain we would have heard by know. VW are bring disrepute to the whole industry. It's about time the press acknowledged this is a VW issue

    • Sage & Onion - 04/11/2015 17:26

      I guess it depends on how fleets, HMRC and other manufacturers feel they've been cheated. A sample of 13 specific non-VW model cars in our fleet have an average "official" Co2 figure of 105 g/km. The actual real world driving Co2 figure is 151 g/km. That's nine percentage points up on the tax scale that the HMRC are losing out on. An equivalent sample of 13 VW group cars of similar size (in fact I would say slightly larger) with similar sized engine have an average "official" Co2 rating of 112 g/km. The actual real world driving Co2 figure is 138 g/km. That's only five steps up the Co2 percentage scale. Yes it's still cheating the HMRC out of tax revenue, but which would you feel more cheated by? And what is the reason for the disparity? I can't even put it down to the VW group drivers being more efficient drivers because we don't issue cars in accordance with how heavy their right foot is. And they all do similar roles.

  • Corp Buyer - 05/11/2015 10:04

    The issue of incorrect CO2 figures raises some very interesting questions , especially in the fleet sector. Bearing in mind company car tax is based on CO2 levels if these are wrong, VW could be liable for all of the back tax , plus possible penalties . Bearing in mind the amount of issues coming to light the future of VW Group is looking rather Red not Green.

  • Paul - 05/11/2015 10:08

    Although I agree in principle that HMRC has lost out on tax revenue, this is based on an assumption, had fleet managers and drivers had the benefit of hindsight, that firstly, fleet managers would have designed a fleet policy that included VW Group models, and secondly that drivers would have opted for a vehicle where potentially there monthly BIK could be more than choosing vehicles from different brands. That said, given the real world experiences of fleet managers, VW still looks like a good choice on the surface and do we really believe that other manufacturers haven't employed similar techniques to make their products look more favourable to both private and fleet drivers?

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