Everyone but US regulators and consumers knew VW was cheating.
Volkswagen has officially closed the book on part of the Dieselgate saga in the US. The company is on the hook for some $15 billion dollars, with the lion's share paid out to consumers and the rest going to the US government. When the scandal broke last fall it sent shock waves through the world. But those in the industry might not have been so surprised. Speaking to Australian reporters at a Volvo launch event in Spain, future product specialist Kent Falck detailed what the company knew about Dieselgate.
It wasn’t too hard to figure it out. After all, Volvo, Volkswagen, and many other automakers use the same parts suppliers to build engine components. Mysteriously, Volkswagen was able to use the same technology as its competitors and pass stringent US diesel emissions laws without expensive urea injections, raising the eyebrows of those in other car companies. “We have the same suppliers, we have Bosch, we have Denso, we are working with the same partners, so we know this technology doesn’t exist,” said Falck. He followed up with, “I have known that for seven years.” For some time, Volkswagen claimed that it was able to pass emissions tests simply by using superior engineering.
While the general public has a limited technical understanding of engines and likely bought this response, it’s harder to bullshit a peer. Put simply, the numbers didn’t add up. Still, Volvo and other automakers gave VW the benefit of the doubt and theorized that it was using licensed technology not available to other automakers to get its low emissions numbers. That assumption came crashing down when the scandal was made public, but given Falck’s comments, it seems that VW could have been stopped sooner.