Volkswagen Cheated Because it Couldn't Meet U.S. Standards

Volkswagen's 2005 decision to make 'clean diesel' engines meant the company had to cheat.

Posted in News

— Volkswagen says the illegal emissions "defeat devices" installed on 11 million vehicles worldwide were installed because the automaker knew it couldn't provide the type of diesel engine the company was marketing.

Seven years of boasting about its "clean diesel" technology has now turned into an admission that decisions to cheat the system began in 2005.

Although carbon dioxide emissions are allegedly not as bad as first believed, the large looming problems still exist about nitrogen oxide readings in about 11 million vehicles.

VW says major internal problematic factors include employee misconduct, weaknesses in testing processes and a company that allowed rules to be broken.

Volkswagen blames the start of the problem with a decision in 2005 to sell diesel vehicles in the U.S. While the EA 189 engine was marketed as the answer to clean diesel emissions, VW employees knew it was impossible to meet the nitrogen oxide requirements on time and within budget.

That meant it was time to cheat, and continue cheating until the automaker was caught in 2015.

According to internal reports, VW says an effective technical process was later created to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, but it was never used as it was meant to be used.

The internal processes were so flawed that emissions "defeat devices" were allowed to be placed on millions of vehicles sold for seven years. The illegal software got past all VW tests and certification processes affecting engine control devices, something that will cause the automaker to make major internal changes to its business practices.

VW says an external investigation will continue well into 2016 due to the scope of the problem. According to the automaker, it has gathered data which would fill 50 million books, all gathered from at least 380 employees.

Technical fixes have been announced in Europe, but the same can't be said for U.S. vehicles. Based on stricter nitrogen oxide limits in the U.S., the automaker is having a more difficult challenge to fix the 500,000 affected vehicles. VW hasn't yet concluded how it will fix the U.S. cars or what effect it will have on fuel economy.

Until a remedy is available, VW tried to pacify American owners by giving away free prepaid Visa cards and other gifts.

Based on its latest report, VW says 450 experts are involved in investigations to determine how the emissions scheme continued for years. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that Volkswagen would still be pulling the hoax if the automaker wouldn't have been caught by a few university researchers.