The Other Shoe Has Dropped . . . Over There

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The German government has just decreed that all “cheating” VW diesels not turned in by their owners for “fixing” will be de-registered. This means the can’t legally be driven, have been rendered inert – several thousand pounds of deadweight their owners can no longer use.

A least, not without risking more serious repercussions.

Germany’s federal motor vehicle authority, the KBA, had already de-registeredAudi and VW cars fitted with the “affected” Euro 5 diesel engines after owners ignored successive reminders to heed a voluntary recall.

Recalls, of course, usually pertain to cars that have something wrong with them which makes them unsafe to drive. This is the first time a car that works perfectly has been subject to a recall – one which results in the “fixed” cars working less well.

The “fix” entails making various adjustments to the “affected” car’s computer code – or the grafting on of a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) injection system. The end result is a mauled car that delivers lower mileage but is now compliant – like the 87-year-old lady recently Tazered by armed government workers in Georgia.

Further vehicles are at risk of being taken off the road in German state of Bavaria but have been given a “grace period” to get the “fix” done.

How nice.

“The recall [for affected VW diesel cars] is compulsory. Cars that are not fixed can eventually be taken out of service. Subject to the release date of the updates, the car owner has had about a year and a half. Plenty of time, to take part in the recall,” the KBA told the trade publication Automotive News Europe in an emailed statement.

The question now is: Will the American government pursue a similar policy? To make American VW owners more . . .  compliant.

Currently, there is no sanction directed at U.S. owners of the “affected” VW and Audi (and Porsche) vehicles who declined the still-voluntary “fix” – and who did not accept the buyback offer VW was forced to make.

But what will happen going forward?

Many owners of these vehicles like them just fine, just as they are – and have no interest in getting them “fixed.” For the same reason most people prefer to remain . . . intact, so to speak.

There is even less incentive to have the cars “fixed” as there’s zero benefit to the owner. The car will not perform better or deliver higher fuel economy. The “fix” affect the car’s exhaust emissions, correcting the fractional increase under certain driving conditions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, at the expense of fuel economy and drivability. You’ll lose a couple of MPGs. It’s not a big difference, granted – but it’s not a positive difference.

Which is why many people have decided not to bring their cars in for fixing. But this amounts to a challenge to the Authority of Uncle – and so it’s a good bet something like “de-registering” will be eventually used here as well. To nudge owners of the “affected” vehicles into compliance.

Of interest – or should be of interest – is the fact that the un-fixed VWs have no trouble passing the emissions tests required in most states to get (and) renew vehicle registration.

Which begs the question: If the actual emissions of these “affected” VWs is so low as to be undetectable by the tests – or at least, within whatever the spec is that determines whether a car passes or fails the test – what is the problem?

The fact that the cars do pass these tests is  strongly persuasive evidence that the “cheating” amounts to hair-splitting differences that are literally immeasurable.

As always, the problem is defying Uncle – whether any harm has been caused being immaterial. VW is being taught a lesson about “cheating” in the same manner as the person who neglects to pay his “fair share” come April.

If you happen to own one of the “affected” VWs, consider what’s going in Germany a preview of what will probably go on here before too long.

. . .

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25 COMMENTS

  1. I need to have a bonfire of plenty of Uncles in effigy. So I wonder if I burn about 500 Uncles, will that cause more air pollution than running my VW Diesel on the highways?

    I guess the answer depends upon whether I use some Diesel fuel to start the fire.

    Just kidding on most of this. Diesel works as well to start the fire as it does to start an old Mercedes 240D.

  2. My understanding is that German regulations call for not being able to renew vehicle registrations after any recall remains unfixed for a certain period of time. After the grace period ends, the car must be repaired to be able to renew the tags. It’s not just the VW diesels that are affected, but any car with an outstanding recall. No, I don’t like that kind of government nannyism either.

    The flip side, to use an example here, is that many US owners of cars with defective Takata airbag inflators that could blow deadly shrapnel in an accident have not bothered to get the bags replaced, despite desperate car manufacturers’ contact attempts. Some happy medium for this kind of thing seems to be called for.

  3. What’s happening with these cars, whould serve as a wake0up call to all, as to what the real purpose of “registration” of anything is. And what it is, is absolute and total control by the state- be it cars or guns, or your marriage or birth of a child, or a house which you need a permit (permission) to construct and occupy (certificate of occupancy), etc. – once the state has a database of who owns what, and can make laws concerning it’s usage and disposal, it is ultimately in control of those things- and you are second or third in line, only for as long as they let you be, or as long as what you do meets their approval.

  4. I still desire a TDI myself. I think I’d have to settle for a Passat for my purposes, and there seem to be lots of “fixed” cars in the pipeline these days at pretty attractive acquisition costs. Buying an older unfixed one would be an interesting experiment: seeing how long I can keep it registered in an urban county.

    Eric, why have the manufacturers been the ones on trial? Methinks Bosch was complicit in the design and programming of the fuel injection systems – like, it is all their components at the middle of this mess. I do not think BMW, VW (et al) and Mercedes actually manufacture the injection systems: they are Bosch components.

    • Hi Scott,

      This is just speculation on my part, but for what it’s worth: I suspect VW was targeted because it was the one car company focused on diesels – and diesels represent a clear and present danger to the Electric Car Agenda.

      VW had a 100-plus MPG TDI car in development. Imagine that. Imagine a 100 MPG-capable non-hybrid, non-EV that you could buy new for around $22k, without subsidies… what person in his right mind would buy a $35,000 EV instead?

      So, VW had to be brought to heel. I wish they’d fought, but it’s not in the character of today’s big corporations to do so.

      • Eric I say the communist EPA went after VW to help GM who is part of the govt now. same way they went after Toyota. they are trying to suck billions off their profits cause they cant compete. nobody died from the trumped up bogus charges but GM got away with killing over 50 people

        • Hi SPQR,

          I buy it. I am certain there are agendas at play. The orchestrated mischaracterization of the actual “emissions” at issue – “up to 40 times the allowable limit!” – implying something akin to pouring used oil down a storm sewer – clued me in. Even the car press parroted this nonsense. As far as I know, I am the only car journalist who dissected this; found out – and wrote about – the fact that the “emissions” at issue are fractional, almost immeasurable. If people knew this, there would be outrage…not at VW for “cheating” but at the government for lying…

          • The whole thing about 40X is BS. The 40X comes from some made up test using the government standard for the government test cycle. It’s not even reality. It’s trivial to come up with a test that will produce something exceeding the standard for another test. It’s just play fraud.

            • Hi Brent,

              Yup, fraud – and the media, including the car press, is delinquent and negligent and other things besides. It parroted everything the government claimed, never actually looked into what “40 times” actually meant. It’s outrageous… and it makes my teeth ache.

              • I would bet the California wildfires have put more pollution into the air than the combined exhaust of every vehicle in the US for the past several years. Saw pictures on the “news” tonight of Seattle and you could barely see the top of the Space Needle; reported to be worse air quality than Beijing but Uncle is crucifying VW for fractions of an infitesimal amount. What a crock!

      • Eric, that is because all large corps borrow money from the international bank cartel, controlled by the Rothschilds and Rockefeller families. All 189 central banks are owned by these 2 families. As such the corporations are subject to borrowing money by fulfilling the terms of the loaners, who are behind the agenda 30 holocaust. All large corporations borrow money to fund their operations, including Apple. That is why the large corps do not resist these deprivations of OUR freedom.

  5. This very topic caused me to purchase and read “The Myth of German Villainy”. The extraction of millions of dollars from Germany over the TDI issue is very reminiscent of the reparations affixed on them after WW I. The idea was, and I think still is, to render Germany less competitive on the world market place.
    This is another financial power grab by the same money mongers worldwide that have destroyed the US economy. They know no limits and hate the success of others.
    More recently, this delisting of VWs will create more debt, the very goal of banks worldwide. Nothing will stop the collapse of the current Ponzi Scheme, but this will slow the process.
    I am keeping my 2005 TDI Passat and my Citroen 2CV6.

    • HiJack,

      Amen. I am so angry about this that if I could possibly afford to do so, I would find and buy an un-“fixed” TDI VW and the only the only way they would get it away from me is via the same means that will be necessary for them to use to get me to pay my “shared responsibility” payment…

  6. Yeah, but the Germans will obey. They always do. They really do know how to embrace obediance. There’s hardly an independent minded individual amongst the lot of ’em. Seriously, is there anything more objectionable than such obsquetious syncophants, full to the brim with craven compliance ever obediant to whatever diktats are vomited onto them? Seriously. Perhaps it is in the DNA. After all, their recent ancestors obeyed orders right up to the very destruction of the country including their own communities, tradition, history, language and culture. And for what was it they obeyed and sacrificed their all for? For national socialism, that’s what. ‘Cause they do obediance really, really well. They got that down pat.

    Now, the question is this. What about you people in the USA and the UK. What of you? Are you similar or even approaching the sameness of obediance?

    • Yep, that’s why the krauts are allowing the islamic barbarians to destroy their country and rape their women. They all worship that Merkel bitch, who is in many ways worse than Adolf.

  7. Here is the way I see it – cars from say the early/mid 2000s to the early 2010s are too good for their own good. Reliable, relatively simple, efficient, dont rust (much), un-tracked/monitored (most) and well with some basic tools, knowledge, and perhaps manufacturing ability can be made to last a long time…. Now thats a problem, because governments in the west seem to want to get people out of this sort of car and into the traceable, restricted, monitored and centrally controlled type of vehicle that is now being made. They have tried to sell it as cool, futuristic, sexy, but still it seems most dont care for it, dont like it, and either case cant afford them anyways. So they will happily continue to use cars before the current generation for as long as possible, which may be a long time.

    Enter all the green rules and regulations we now suddenly see popping up….the VW diesel “scandal” is just part of it. In London our dear mayor has now banned cars, no matter how efficient manufactured before a certain date from entering even within greater london (without paying a very high charge). We hear other cities in europe will follow the lead.

    The fact that its absolute nonsense is that my humble 11 year old BMW with a 2.0d which can easily do 35 MPG on the motorway is subject to the charge – but a new 550HP V8 5.0 litre Range Rover is “clean” enough to get into the city without……. can you imagine.

    Bottom line, be it cash for clunkers, bans, excessive pollution charges on cars from that era, or other restrictions, its all a way to get those cars off the street and force everyone into the newer, more restricted and controlled cars…

  8. So, the “fix” gets worse mpg (burns more gas), so that’s obviously going to emit more emissions, hmm, I wonder if that’s really emitting less TOTAL emissions than before the “fix”?! Maybe that’s why VW did it the way they did in the first place?

  9. Wonder if VW could have sidestepped this mess if they had equipped their diesels with 3 or more drivetrain settings that the driver could choose, such as standard (which passes the EPA testing), sport (optimizing power), and eco (optimizing MPGs).

  10. If this is just a software change I wonder if there’s going to be a cottage industry where you back up your “Broken” software, let them “fix” it and then after everything is certified as good just restore it back the way it was.

  11. What really frosts me is that the Uncles of the world choke on fleas and spit out elephants, so to speak.

    The pollution that these VWs emit in terms of both CO2 (if that is a pollutant) and true noxious gases is but a drop in the bucket in terms of other activities…Like burning coal to generate electricity for electric cars…Or mining lithium and other rare earth minerals that go into their batteries…But I digress.

    • I read a transcript of one of Putin’s Q&A sessions where someone asked him why the Russian government wasn’t promoting electric cars. Putin answered (approximately) because electric cars burn coal which produces more pollution than burning gasoline.

      • Ed, I don’t believe everyone buying Tesla’s are as ignorant as to not be glad they’re electricity is coming from a lot of coal-fired plants that are much dirtier polluters than necessary. West Virginia has towns where the cancer rate is several times the average. They could make ponds that are lined and have adequate dams….but they don’t. Probably the only good thing Slick Willy ever did in his entire life was to work a deal with the coal fired electric companies that they could keep using their dirty stacks up to the point where they needed to be rebuilt and new ones could not be of the normal dirty type, requiring scrubbers to catch all those heavy metals and other cancer-causing toxins.

        Of course, once the shrub got into office this went away in a matter of minutes.

  12. The biggest unwritten “crime” for any govt is viewing them as an organized criminal gang, and acting accordingly by defying any of their edicts, no matter how seemingly small. Principled defiance of such a law – refusing to pay penalties and then refusing to be arrested when people wearing badges and guns inevitably show up – is ultimately punishable by death.

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