Volkswagen’s Internal Investigation Reveals Startling Details About Defeat Device As US Files Consumer Protection Lawsuits Against the Company
Last month, the West Virginia University discovered that Volkswagen’s supposedly “clean diesel” engines, which set a consumer standard for environmental awareness and protection, had a “defeat device” to fool emissions tests into believing the engine ran cleaner than it actually did on the road. Reportedly, the “defeat device” detected when the vehicle was undergoing emissions testing and would turn on features that cleaned up the vehicle’s emissions to pass Environmental Protection Agency and other federal standards, as well as some European Union standards. Once the vehicle was no longer in emissions testing, however, the device would turn the filtering process off. This may have made the vehicle more fuel-efficient, according to some analysts, but in a horrible twist from VW’s pro-environment marketing, the device showed that the automotive manufacturer intentionally violated not only US laws, but other countries’ clean air standards, in order to sell its products.
Volkswagen conducted an internal investigation in the week following the breaking news, and fired several high-level personnel including two engineers, whom the company now believes to be responsible for making the decision to use the emissions standards defeat device.
Ulrich Hackenberg, former head of research and development for Volkswagen’s Audi division, and Wolfgang Hatz, former engine chief and head of the R&D division for Porsche, were two of the more suspicious among the numerous employees suspended during the internal investigation.
The two lead engineers became the focus of Volkswagen’s emissions inquiry after investigators discovered that the German auto maker began installing the defeat device in 2008, after spending years developing a “clean diesel” engine called the EA 189. The company was preparing their new engine for production when they discovered that it did not pass emissions tests determined by the European Union, nor did it pass the rigorous diesel emissions standards set by the US government. Rather than scrap their precious engine, however, the manufacturer instead began installing the device that would fool emissions tests in numerous countries into believing that the engine ran clean.
Hackenberg and Hatz headed the team developing the EA 189, and are believed to have said yes to the defeat device’s installation.
The company’s internal inquiry is ongoing, and Volkswagen faces numerous other investigations in other countries on top of fines and lawsuits from consumers, US states, and potentially other countries where the manufacturer violated emissions laws. Michael Horn, head of VW’s US business division, will go before a panel of US lawmakers on Thursday, while Germany’s KBA watchdog group has demanded that VW update the diesel engines to run cleanly by October 7th.
Meanwhile, several US Volkswagen owners have joined class action lawsuits which filed a consumer protection lawsuit, claiming that the company installed the defeat device on purpose to fool the state’s consumers into believing they were purchasing fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly vehicle.
The Strom Law Firm legal team is investigating the potential fraud by Volkswagen to consumers who purchased their diesels cars. Please visit our VW Diesel Emissions Class Action Lawsuit website to join the class action.