In September 2015, the EPA found Volkswagen diesel cars had a “defeat device” in them which could recognize performance test situations. Upon recognizing the test, the cars altered their own performance to improve results.
The fraud became known as the “diesel dupe.”
The engine-altering software could spot speed, engine operations, air pressure, and even the steering wheel positions which were common in performance tests. Once these scenarios were identified, the vehicle's engine would lower its power to reveal a more environmentally friendly performance.
By reacting to performance tests, the cars were able to pass emissions tests.
Without the altered performance, the vehicles emitted up to 40 times more than the amount of nitrogen oxide pollutants the United States allows.
The German automobile company later admitted to wrong doing.
Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, Golf, and Passat with diesel engines were all affected. The Audi A3, which Volkswagen manufactures, was also involved. The EPA accused the company of modifying software in 3 litre Porsche and Audi models, but Volkswagen has denied that those 10,000 vehicles were altered.
Millions of Volkswagen cars were recalled worldwide.
This massive recall has cost Volkswagen their first loss in a quarter in over 15 years. The company still faces a fine of up to $37,500 per vehicle from the EPA, which could total $18 billion.
Volkswagen's stock has dropped by a third since the scandal broke.
Before the scandal broke, the German automotive maker had a marketing campaign celebrating the low emissions of their diesel engines.
Diesel sales only account for about 1% of the American market and are unlikely to rise now. In Europe, diesel sales account for a larger portion of the market, but their emissions standards are lower.
If you had a vehicle affected by this scandal in the Los Angeles area, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the law office of Howard D. Silver at (855) 341-2611 to schedule a consultation.