back to article Watch out VW – French prosecutors are pulling on the rubber gloves

Prosecutors in Paris announced Friday that they were launching an investigation into the Volkswagen scandal, looking into what they termed as suspicions of "aggravated deception". The German auto giant is in hot water on both sides of the Atlantic after it emerged that it had equipped its cars with software that allowed the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let he that is without sin...

    By all accounts the likes of Volvo are in the frame here as well. Volvo (Ford and others) use PSA engines which are French...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let he that is without sin...

      Maybe, but what chance that the Frogs will conduct a robust, balanced investigation into their own car makers? I'd suggest this French investigation is about doing some damage to VW Group on behalf of the French "national champions".

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let he that is without sin...

        It's a toughie who the French dislike the most, the Germans for invading them twice or the Brits (and Allies) for rescuing them twice. You can't win either way.

      3. John 104

        Re: Let he that is without sin...

        Similar to the Tour De France...

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Let he that is without sin...

      Actually the worst scores on the "pollution on the road" test announced yesterday are Nissan/Renault. Up to 10 times more than the Eu test spec.

      While Volvo is not great it is likely that its entry in the test was defective (yeah, I know, queue jokes about PSV engines).

      1. toughluck

        Re: Let he that is without sin...

        @VRH: Yeah, the test results yesterday were something. They only neglected to mention that they tested total/worst case emissions of Euro 5-compliant cars and presented results compared to Euro 6 emissions standards.

    3. Donchik

      Re: Let he that is without sin...

      Perhaps this explains why PSA diesels fitted in Fords never have the same performance or emissions.

      Identical hardware but significant performance difference now looks very suspicious for PSA!

      Perhaps we now know how they did it?

      1. toughluck

        Re: Let he that is without sin...

        You mean like a Ford Mondeo with a 2.0 TDCi (DW10) compared to a Peugeot 508 2.0 HDi is heavier by some 11% (150 kg) and has 11% higher fuel consumption? A Citroen C5 weighs about the same as a Mondeo and has about the same efficiency.

        Or with a 1.6 (DV6), the C5 has markedly higher fuel consumption than Mondeo despite the same weight.

        Or maybe it's because the fuel consumption figures can be easily achieved with normal driving? I've been able to get 30% lower fuel consumption in typical city driving than what the catalog states, and yes, it shocked me, too.

        Mind you, they have about the same acceleration, so I don't understand where you get the "significant performance difference" from.

        Very suspicious my ass.

        1. joed

          Re: Let he that is without sin...

          150kg is quite a lot of mass. It'd be difficult to account for it in extra emission hardware. Quite likely 508 is slightly smaller, weaker structurally or to contrary uses more high strength steel, possibly better engineered or maybe has smaller/lighter rims/wheels and no spare. Anyway, 11% less mass = better efficiency in city. Lower mass and resulting frontal area of the vehicle = better efficiency on the highway (though not as much difference). Things like transmission/gear ratios matter as well.

  2. Toltec

    Remapped ecus?

    Having a turbo diesel remapped is reasonably common in the UK and, if drivers are to be believed, they get both more power and better fuel consumption. It is likely that this changes the emissions profile of the engine so will this practice be banned?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remapped ecus?

      That's popping up here (US) as a topic. Use of the DMCA to prevent thus sort of thing by the EPA. Also the manufactures to prevent security audits when open sourcing is most likely a better idea.

    2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Re: Remapped ecus?

      Toltec, it is possible to both get more power and better fuel consumption via remapping, but I’d be surprised if they were achieved without also increasing NOₓ emissions. If UK MOTs don’t require NOₓ testing, then that could be a factor in the reasonably common status of remapping there.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

        Re: Remapped ecus?

        Remapping may also affect the reliability of the engine. The very high specific output of a Formula 1 car is only possible because they have to run for 60 or so laps, not 200k miles.

        1. hopkinse

          Re: Remapped ecus?

          er - my TDI is about 400 miles off the quarter of a million and it isn't suffering greatly from the effects of a remap installed by a previous owner. I suspect that the fact that the EGR was bypassed sometime in the past may also have contributed to the longevity of the turbo and associated bits!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remapped ecus?

      Having a turbo diesel remapped is reasonably common in the UK..

      .....as is not informing the vehicle's insurers that the vehicle has been performance modified.

      FTFY

  3. nsld

    Have a Landy freelander with a remap

    More power, better fuel consumption and just went through its MOT as clean as a diseasal can be.

    Given its a mark one and the standard ecu is akin to a broken abacus it's not surprising the remap is cleaner.

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Have a Landy freelander with a remap

      Does the UK MOT test for NOx or PM?

      No, it doesn't. Therefore you cannot say your remapped tax-dodging car is cleaner.

      1. nsld
        Facepalm

        Re: Have a Landy freelander with a remap

        It also doesn't test for the presence of cheese either, the point I made was that it got through the MOT tests and what they require.

        The MOT also looks for visible smoke so it does have a rudimentary particulate matter test.

        Not sure how you think it's "tax dodging" either, it's a year 2000 W plate car so pre dates the CO2 bands for VED and pays the rate based on engine size.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Have a Landy freelander with a remap

        It does test for PM.

        1. Dr_N Silver badge

          Re: Have a Landy freelander with a remap

          "It does test for PM."

          No it doesn't.

  4. Scott Broukell
    Meh

    Historically . . . . . .

    there is documentary evidence (and yes I have seen the videos with my very own eyes), that show this sort of thing has gone on since the dawn of time, I mean just take a close look at the underside of Fred Flintsones car - yes, there it is, Da Feet system. (I'm here all week folks)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Historically . . . . . .

      I'm guessing that's why Mr Rubble always shared a car with him, let Fred do all the work.

    2. Mpeler
      Coat

      Re: Historically . . . . . .meet the flintstones

      And every so often they'd have to call the AA, and

      ...

      << wait for it >>

      ...

      Get toed...

  5. Spaceman Spiff

    If you believe for even an instant that top executives at VW did not know this was going on, and approved of it, even tacitly, then you are an idiot! Their engineers would NOT have done this without approval from the highest levels. Maybe there are no paper or e-trails to the top here, but that is just good CYA crap!

    1. toughluck

      Exactly. Would any sane employee risk putting their neck on the chopping block without corporate approval?

    2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      an advantage of hierarchy

      Spaceman Spiff, if this chronology is accurate, then in theory that initial approval could have been made as low in the VW hierarchy as the head of engine development, and his superiors might have known nothing more than “OK, Neußer’s EA189 team has met the EPA and CARB NOₓ emission limits without needing AdBlue — we can start production for the North American markets at reasonable costs”; it would depend on how much information flowed between those levels of the VW hierarchy. That being said, Winterkorn at least seems like someone who’d be interested in engineering details.

      1. PC Paul

        Re: an advantage of hierarchy

        From what I've seen in bug business it's quite possible the higher levels *deliberately* didn't want to know about it. "Don't tell me how you did it".

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Re: an advantage of hierarchy

          PC Paul, that’s certainly possible. It’s also possible that they didn’t care how goals were achieved as long as they got achieved, and so wouldn’t be curious enough about the “how” to even ask about it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take it all with a large grain of salt

    There will be lots of investigations but for the most part the only issue is that VW needs to fit new software without the ability to know when an emissions test is being conducted. The engines themselves actually meet or exceed all required emissions requirements in all respecareas where sold. In the U.S., the land of litigation the lawyers will use every means possible to bleed as much money out of VW as possible. It's the American way...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    c'est desole

    </sarcasm>

  8. Slx

    I think the bigger question here is why the EU has been pushing diesel to reduce CO2 while it's obviously a health hazard in terms of both NOx and particulates and heavily dependent on well maintained engines and filters.

    I think this may see a return to focusing on petrol (gasoline) again. It's simply a cleaner fuel because it's much more distilled than Diesel.

    The cost per L in many markets also doesn't make it much of a saving. It's all an artificial push based on CO2 per km calculations.

  9. -tim
    Mushroom

    Farfegnsmogen

    State law in most states downunder allow for full refunds for cars as they weren't what was represented. Nothing like trading in a decade old car for the original purchase price.

    1. Kernel

      Re: Farfegnsmogen

      I wouldn't be waiting that long - if I owned a VW of any model or age I'd be getting shot of it right now - because the way countries are jumping on the punishment bandwagon you'll be very soon the proud owner of a car with no manufacturer support.

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