Volkswagen emissions scam: Man who uncovered VW fraud wants other carmakers under spotlight
September 23, 2015 08:43:03
The man who helped to uncover Volkswagen’s massive emissions fraud says other carmakers must be put under the spotlight.
The German giant has admitted that 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide are equipped with devices that can cheat pollution tests, and is now facing billions of dollars in recall costs, fines and potential criminal charges.
John German works for a small group called the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) that set out last year to prove diesel vehicles were now cleaner than other cars.
But their road tests in California with Volkswagen uncovered massive disparities from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lab tests, sparking the current scandal.
Mr German told the ABC’s AM other manufacturers had to be questioned.
”Especially when EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board) have the stringent standards and do the best job of enforcement — if it’s happening here, how widespread is it?” he said.
Mr German said he was shocked by the results of the ICCT tests.
”[CARB] tested the vehicles on the official test cycle, and those vehicles passed on the lab, on the official test,” he said.
”And yet our measurements showed the emissions were five to 30 times the standards over every route we drove. It was very high.”
After seeing the extraordinary results, Mr German thought there was a malfunction in the vehicle.
”But then you go back to the official test data and it passed. It’s like, okay, there’s no malfunction,” he said.
”So, at that stage we just said, we have to turn this over to EPA and CARB.”
He said he never set out to uncover a fraud – it was in fact quite the opposite.
”The idea was that in the US, because the emission standards are more stringent, and because both EPA and CARB have a lot of experience and expertise and legal authority to do enforcement, that the vehicles here would be clean,” Mr German said.
”And then we thought, well we could take the, get these clean results, take them back to Europe and say, ’Hey, look guys, it can be done, you should be doing it too’.”
When EPA confronted Volkswagen, it first denied it and claimed the lab testing was flawed.
The scandal went public on Friday when US regulators ordered Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker by sales, to fix the defect and said they were launching a probe.
The German firm halted all diesel vehicle sales in the United States during the US investigation, which could lead to fines of more than $US18 billion ($25 billion).
The shockwave immediately hit stock markets, with VW shedding more than a quarter of their value — or more than 20 billion euros — since last week.
France has called for a Europe-wide probe into the revelations, while South Korea has summoned Volkswagen officials, and the US Justice Department has reportedly launched a criminal investigation.
Mr German said he hoped governments around the world would follow EPA and CARB’s lead and respond with stricter enforcement.
”The best part about this from our point of view is if the governments around the world can wake up to the fact that, you know, look what CARB and EPA did once they got the data. Look what they did,” he said.
”No other country in the world has done the same thing.
”And to us that will be, what we’d be most happy about is if the governments around the world would respond with stricter enforcement and stricter oversight.”
September 23, 2015 08:15:57