Dieselgate scandal still fuming in Europe, more action needed

Volkswagen may have to buy back cars affected by the Dieselgate scandal. [Automobile Italia/Flickr]

Europe has not yet reached the bottom of the Dieselgate scandal as “many other brands” besides Volkswagen show too high emissions in real driving conditions, the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska warned in a letter to the 28 member states’ transport ministers.

The letter, sent on 17 July and made available to EURACTIV.com, also said the non-compliant cars must be removed from the market this year and next but the Commissioner cautioned against imposing strict driving bans for such cars.

“While I am convinced that we should rapidly head for zero emission vehicles in Europe, policymakers and the industry cannot have an interest in a rapid collapse of the diesel market in Europe as a result of local driving bans. It would only deprive the industry of necessary funds to invest in zero-emissions vehicles,” Commissioner Bieńkowska wrote.

EU drafts tougher 'Dieselgate' rules to stop cheating

National ministers moved today (29 May) to crack down on emissions cheating after the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” scandal by giving the European Commission more powers to monitor testing and fine automakers.

Recalling the case of defeat devices found in Audi and Porsche vehicles, the Commissioner wrote:

“It seems we have not yet reached the bottom of the emission scandal. It is disconcerting that, once again, it was not market surveillance authorities who discovered the problems. Further improvements of national market surveillance capacities are clearly needed that go beyond the Commission’s type approval proposal.”

MEPs reject EU road agency in vote for new post-Dieselgate car approval rules

The European Parliament approved tougher rules for the approval of new cars aimed at avoiding a repeat of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal but rejected amendments calling for a new, centralised EU road agency to oversee emissions testing.

Bieńkowska urged all member states to follow the example of Germany and order mandatory recalls of non-compliant VW vehicles “at the latest by the end of 2017”. Ultimately, she added, such cars should be removed as part of national technical inspections as of 2018.

She praised Germany, France and the Netherlands for having taken voluntary action to deal with the emissions, on top of the mandatory measures, and urged the others to follow their lead.

However, the Commissioner complained that she had asked the Volkswagen chairman on 19 June to provide the state of play of VW’s recall programme, but “so far I have not received an answer”.

EU consumer agencies to join forces to press VW over dieselgate scandal

European national consumer agencies plan joint action to seek compensation for Volkswagen drivers who bought emissions-cheating diesel cars on the strength of their green credentials, the European Commission said on Tuesday (7 March).