VW is facing the possibility of more than $18 billion in EPA fines after news broke that the company had used a software “cheat” on its TDi models to pass federally mandated emissions testing. That number was calculated from the 482,000 affected Volkswagen and Audi TDi models sold in the US since 2008, but that’s just in the US. Earlier today, Volkswagen admitted that their emissions testing cheat has been employed in more than 11 million vehicles worldwide.
Yes. Eleven million VW diesels.
The VW diesels in question are powered by the Type EA 189 common rail diesel marketed as the TDi. In an official statement, VW released the following nonsense: Volkswagen is working at full speed to clarify irregularities concerning a particular software used in diesel engines. New vehicles from the Volkswagen Group with EU 6 diesel engines currently available in the European Union comply with legal requirements and environmental standards. The software in question does not affect handling, consumption or emissions. This gives clarity to customers and dealers.
I can’t speak for you guys, but I’m thrilled to have clarity!
Sarcasm aside, this new information is potentially even more catastrophic-er for Volkswagen, in general, and VW diesels, in particular. Just yesterday outlets like Business Insider were predicting a scenario that had VW coming out of the other side of this scandal relatively clean, predicting that the potential $18 billion in fines would almost certainly not be levied against VW. The article cited EPA officials stating that the maximum fines are almost never reached, and that “the federal government will consider such factors as the egregiousness of the offense, the amount of harm done, and how cooperative the offending party has been,” in determining VW’s fate.
That was yesterday, when Volkswagen had only admitted to cheating with 482,000 Audi and VW diesels in the US market. Today? Today, that number is more than 20 times as high as originally thought, and Volkswagen is quickly losing any global goodwill it may have had.