Car Industry

One of VW's diesel fixes might be making things worse

A consumer group believes that a potential Audi Q5 TDI remedy might increase pollution instead of reducing it.

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You know things are getting weird when the alleged defeat devices are actually improving emissions.

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We've all experienced a time where the best laid plans of mice and men go awry, when the thing you do to help a situation may actually make it worse. That appears to be happening with Volkswagen, as one of its proposed diesel-pollution remedies could be increasing, not decreasing nitrogen-oxide output.

European consumer watchdog BEUC claims that one of its Italian partners discovered this issue on a diesel Audi Q5. Volkswagen's proposed fix involves removing so-called "defeat device" software. But after this was done, the car emitted more nitrogen oxides than before. That's an M. Night Shyamalan-tier twist right there.

"This test by our Italian member clearly demonstrates that VW's solution to deactivate the defeat device is not reliable," said Monique Goyens, BEUC's director, in a statement. "Volkswagen justifies compensation payments to US consumers with the argument that their cars cannot be as easily fixed as in Europe. This excuse now seems to be built on sand. VW must compensate European consumers."

Volkswagen did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Earlier, the automaker said that it would not offer European customers the same level of settlement that it did in the US. VW will pay some $15 billion in restitution, including payments to both owners and environmental remediation funds. Emissions regulations are looser in Europe, permitting the company to attempt fixes more readily. Repeating the US settlement in Europe, where the majority of its dirty diesels are located, could cost over $100 billion, based on current costs.