EU calls for more rigorous vehicle testing after VW scandal

The European Commission wants all member states to investigate into how many cars use illegal “defeat” devices to cheat emissions tests in light of the scandal at Volkswagen, a Commission spokeswoman said today.

Volkswagen has said 11 million of its diesel cars around the world could be implicated after the US Environmental Protection Agency revealed VW had been using software to mask pollutants.

“We are inviting all member states to carry out an investigation at national level,” Commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet told reporters.

“We need to have a full picture of how many vehicles were fitted with defeat devices, which break EU law.”

The Commission has proposed new legislation on tightening up its vehicle testing regime to produce results more in line with real driving conditions, which it says is the responsibility of member states to enforce.

It is also looking at whether the European Union’s system of type approval, when new models are put on to the market, should be changed and has said it has called a meeting with national authorities, but it is not clear when.

Meanwhile, German economic research institute IFO has said the Volkswagen emissions scandal could have a significant impact on the reputation of Germany’s export industry for a number of months, and even into next year.

Speaking to RTÉ News IFO economist Klaus Wohlrabe said the ‘Made in Germany’ label has a “real substantial impact on German business and on the German economy”, and it is “our trademark for our flourishing export industry.”

He added: “There is a substantial probability there will be reputational damage to the German economy that will likely have an impact more in the medium term than the short term.”

Mr Wohlrabe said it could be the case that there is a negative impact on the German economy as far away as next year as a result of the VW scandal.

IFO conducts monthly economic surveys among 10,000 businesses across Germany.

Experts have also warned that the emissions scandal engulfing Volkswagen could have consequences for the Bundesliga, as the company invests hundreds of millions of euros in German football annually.

Volkswagen admitted to US regulators that it programmed its cars to detect when they were being tested and alter the running of their diesel engines to conceal their true emissions.

As a result, VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned yesterday.

Sports marketing experts say that Volkswagen, fearing compensation claims that could run into the billions, could now potentially start reviewing sponsoring activities.

The company owns German Cup winners VfL Wolfsburg, pumping an estimated €100 million annually into the Champions League club.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has said Volkswagen could face penalties of up to $18 billion, and the company’s share price has plummeted since the scandal erupted.

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