VW emissions scandal affects far fewer cars than once thought

9 Dec 2015

VW turbo-diesel engine image via VW Group

It seems after all the fears that Volkswagen (VW) would go under over the emissions scandal last September, the company is now saying that the number of cars affected by the subversion is only a fraction of the original estimate.

The VW emissions scandal had appeared to be a crushing blow to the once reputable car manufacturer, with evidence that it had deliberately tampered with its diesel engines so they would produce less CO2 emissions during testing than under regular driving conditions.

Following the news breaking and the company admitting to its wrongdoing, it said that it would have to recall a total of more than 800,000 cars across Europe, which would cost the company somewhere close to €2bn.

However, the company has now issued a statement saying that, following an internal investigation, it was discovered that only a small number of VW models were actually affected by the “slight deviations” that showed fewer carbon emissions and that the entire ordeal that saw them lose significant face worldwide is now “largely concluded”.

With these new figures, VW said that this means that only 36,000 cars and nine VW models have been affected by the scandal.

Good news for shareholders

“The deviations found in the figures for only nine model variants amount to a few grams of CO2 on average, corresponding to increased cycle consumption in the NEDC of approximately 0.1 to 0.2 litres per 100km,” the statement said. “With an annual production of approximately 36,000 vehicles, these model variants correspond to around only 0.5pc of the volume of the VW brand.”

The next step, the company said, is to have the nine models re-measured by an independent group, under its own watchful eye, before Christmas.

While not confirmed, the company said this is likely to mean the previous estimate of €2bn in losses will be drastically reduced, depending on the results of the independent test.

At least for investors, the news has been well-received, with Reuters reporting that the company saw a jump in its share price of 5.6pc to €131.05 soon after the statement was released.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic