Documents Show German Auto Cartels Cheating New Emissions Tests

SEP 3 2018 BY EVANNEX 45


The dirty diesel debacle was never just about Volkswagen. All five of the major German automakers have been investigated by European and US authorities, accused of participating in a cartel that thwarted competition and stifled innovation.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Germany’s top automakers have been working to game CO2 emissions tests (Image: Business Car)

Now that European regulators have introduced a new and better test for CO2 emissions, it appears that the carmakers have quickly figured out a way to manipulate it as well.

According to documents obtained by the advocacy group Transport & Environment, European Commission scientists have uncovered evidence that car manufacturers may have cheated the results of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) in order to inflate their results in the COemissions test, either by declaring higher results than they had registered or by reconfiguring test vehicles.

Above: Last year, VW’s “dieselgate” scandal broadened to include all five German car brands; many suspect there’s more trouble on the horizon (Youtube: CGTN)

European regulators are transitioning from the notoriously inaccurate NEDC testing cycle to the WLTP test in order to reach a more accurate estimate of emissions during real-world driving. The WLTP is the foundation for calculating 2025 and 2030 emissions targets for the European auto industry, so if automakers can manipulate the results, they could get away with setting less ambitious emissions targets.

According to T&E, “The Commission documents show that in tests carmakers are switching off the start-stop function. They are also adjusting the gear-shift patterns and using depleted batteries to burn more fuel and emit more CO2. In addition, carmakers are declaring higher values than they actually measure, again inflating the official emission values. The Commission found that: ‘As a result, the targets for 2025 and 2030 would also be weakened due to the inflated 2021 starting point. This would de facto reduce the level of ambition…’”

Above: Germany’s automakers have been plagued by issues, of their own making, that surround dirty tailpipe emissions (Image: The Bulletin)

“After Dieselgate carmakers promised to change and that new tests were the solution,” said T&E Executive Director William Todts. “Now it’s clear they’re using these new tests to undermine the already weak CO2 standards. They want to meet these with minimal effort so they can keep selling diesels and delay the shift to electric cars.”

Higher emissions will result in higher taxes, so carmakers have an incentive to collude to make sure that no company obtains a competitive advantage by cheating on the tests. And that’s exactly what Mr. Todts suspects is going on. “The only way this trick can work is if all carmakers work together,” says he. “The Commission must extend the ongoing cartel enquiries to investigate whether there has been collusion here. Just fixing the baseline problem isn’t enough, There needs to be sanctions to end the industry’s endemic cheating and collusion.”


Written by: Charles Morris; This article originally appeared in Charged; Source: Transport & Environment via Government Europa

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

Categories: Audi, BMW, Daimler, Mercedes, Volkswagen

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

45 Comments on "Documents Show German Auto Cartels Cheating New Emissions Tests"

newest oldest most voted

Here we go again, new song, same singers. It appears that they will never learn. The only thing they will ever understand is the pain and no gain.

Why do so many people continue to support German automakers? This needs to stop!

Too bad that just locking up these complicit German ICE Holes, and throwing away the key, is not enough of a deterrent, to make them mend their conspiratorial polluting ways.

What does it take to curb the “German Auto Cartel”, and its ongoing filthy rotten combustion crimes against humanity?

Clean Air and Water are not a guarantee on a Fossil Fuel burning planet with 10 Billion people chugging, and combusting their way to prosperity, during this century.

ICE holes are the end of the exhaust pipes right? 😉

Because some of us love driving and the Germans still make the best drivers cars. It’s passion. The real bad guys are US auto makers.

Really @Johan?
Are American cars taxed in EU?
Are German cars taxes in US?
Who is gaming the emission tests?

I’m at a loss. Why is driving a German car better?

I agree on lousy american cars, except for Tesla. It beats them all Germans… and Toyotas that I like very much.
There a lot of “look at me” in driving Audi, Mercedes or BMW.

I have daily-driven a mid-spec 2010 F-150 and a 2013 Explorer, well past 80K miles each. There was absolutely nothing “lousy” about them – including their price, comfort and practicality. None of them was a Tesla, just to be clear 🙂 Also the current crop of larger-than-Sonic Chevrolets continues to impress.

I have zero interest in the US-market “German” cars, so do we agree on this, I think.

Why are US automakers the bad guys?

Everyone games the system. That is one of the reasons why we have European and American specifications of the sames car. Because they are never the same.

Every does NOT game the system! Elon Musk/Tesla (I’m sure there are others) absolutely refuse to play the same game. This is one of the main reasons they are so hated by the major auto manufacturers. Granted, gaming the system is widespread – the reason, perhaps, that most people have so much trouble understanding Elon’s motivations.

There’s not much to do today to game the system with only EV. Maybe there will be with a change of regulations imposing more severe rules on EV manufacturing process.

I think it’s revealing that the ICE manufacturers all focus on charging TIME, the only spec they have a chanse beating Tesla on, and also both cheapest (R&D expense wise), and least important for early adopters. I don’t know if they actually believe or just hope this will be enough to make Tesla go bankrupt – but that is clearly their game plan. If they were serious they would start building battery factories yesteryear.

FYI… WLTP went into effect two days ago and not in 2025…
As a result of WLTP major automakers are already killing some diesel models and changing engine options that are available…

“They want to meet these with minimal effort so they can keep selling diesels”
IS anyone going to actually be buying or selling diesels in 2025 when their are already bans in place from many large EU cities??
The wiki list below does not include London’s zero emission zone and some large German cities currently debating diesel fuel bans…

Emissions coming from new ICE machines in 2025 is just about irrelevant as any company focused on selling ICE mobiles in 2025 probably is not going to be around much longer that 2025…

Sorry Mate, not at Spain.
Until 2021 no, thanks to the politicians bought by the mayor german companies.
It’s all related.

This is a little bit like when the U.S. benched its 2013 “Clean Power Plan” goal to 2005, when power sector emissions were 2.4Gt instead of the 2.0Gt they were in 2013. “Inflating the baseline” is a chronic problem, and part of why individual decisions about your next car matter so much.

Big government and big business aren’t getting it done.

Well maybe this new scandal will cause Germany to get serious about EV’s German’s have always prided themselves on engineering.

this has nothing to do with engineering. It has to do with cheating.
The real problem here is that the German gov almost certainly knew.

LOL, article written by Tesla accessories company… couldn’t be more biased. No brands mentioned, but here is another news headline today: ” – BMW Diesel: No fraud, no manipulation; – According to a preliminary report, BMW has neither cheated on nor tampered with the cleaning of exhaust gases, but only made a mistake with the software version. To settle things without a lawsuit, BMW will now pay a ten million euros fine.” So, BMW have clean hands, which is good news.

The source is Transport & Environment via Government Europa. EVANNEX doesn’t really write its own content. All of their articles come from other primary sources. They do sell Tesla products. However, their blog is set up to find and share other news within the space.

Well you for sure watch Fox and you don’t complain about it.

Sorry Johan,
I’m from another european country. I had a BMW 320D, and I felt completely cheated by German Engineering Cartel. They stole my money with continuous breakdowns: catalysts/exhausts, fuel pump, turbo even AC. No need to talk about NOx.
I promised myself never again any German automaker.
I may make up my mind with green shoots like those of Sono Motors, but I still feel the damage

Agreed Sherpa – I USED to like German car companies. Their 50-60 year old products were pretty good, as a 55-60 year old VW Microbus still commands (if in reasonable condition) over $100,000. I believe the ‘type A’ (Beetle) still is the most popular car model ever made, although I’m sure that will eventually be topped by something Chinese. But recent VW and BMW products I’ve heard horror stories about them being maintenance nightmares, whereas the 1/2 century old products required a minimal amount of easy routine maintenance – and the cars had longevity. I can’t think of any Bosch 210 watt generators or regulators even needing a brush readjustment or a fan belt tightening let alone a replacement. I think the BOLT ev or Ampera-e lives on in that tradition, seeing as the cars are basically very simple, yet the parts that people don’t immediately see are robust, such as the heavy-duty reduction gears and the safe, substantial frame – my Bolt ev was rear ended by a Nissan Rogue (a somewhat larger vehicle that was junked after it slammed into mine at 35 miles per hour – the texting woman never even touching the brakes). The rear end… Read more »

Here is an example of an actual conspiracy, Real conspiracies will always fall apart because too many people know the secret. They are temporarily held together by threats, real and imagined, against those who talk. Anyone care to investigate how this happened?

You cannot possibly know if a conspiracy is successful. Because no one would have been able to expose it.

I don’t think you can prove collusion over something so obvious. Normally they would optimise the cars to use as little fuel as possible and everybody does it. This time it was favourable to use more fuel so they all do the opposite. If they need to communicate with each other to arrive at that conclusion they would be completely incompetent.

I don’t like companies seeking to cheat and misrepresent their products to customers and regulators. The point is to clean the air, not secretly pollute if you can get away with it. If customers and nations want energy-efficient vehicles, make energy-efficient vehicles.

Right, it shows a complete lack of moral and ethical behavior.

Did you read the article? The auto makers had a cartel to stifle competition in all sorts of areas. They conspired to limit the max speed to close a convertible top! I mean why? They conspired to limit the size of the Diesel-emissions cleaning urea tank in Europe to a paltry 8 liters, for fear of an “arms race” (their words) in urea tank sizes! That’s right, they compared increased capability of an anti-pollution system to be like an “arms race” of destructive war weapons! It was a conspiracy to limit competition and development in just about everything it seems. And they shared a new set of emissions-test-cheating technology amongst themselves.

And yes, the authorities can prove it by threatening to send people to prison but offering a deal for the first one to confess and supply evidence. That’s what is happened.

It’s not just”peple”, first company to work with official investigators gets free ticket out. So long as that provide all the relevant details and cooperate fully

Its easy. Vertu easy. One just have to show they agreed upon common practices, specs, progress rates. That’s collusion, that’s punishable anywhere in the world.

Declaring worse values than actually measured isn’t cheating. Cheating is if you declare better values…

No, cheating is declaring wrong values to gain an advantage. In this case, declaring inflating values gains them an advantage.

This article fails to mention an important aspect from the source, that is crucial for understanding: the EU fleet emission standards up to 2021 are still based on the old NEDC standard; but the WLTP results for 2021 will be used as baseline for future emission standards — so inflating the WLTP values (but not the NEDC ones) now brings no penalty; while effectively lowering the WLTP-based standards for 2025 and beyond.

I can’t help thinking that this obvious flaw in the regulations was probably not an accidental slip…

That’s correct. The problem comes from the change in methodology in the regulation. If the UE had, just like before, fixed limit thresholds, such a situation wouldn’t have existed.

With the flaw in the new methodology, the cleaner the car you produce today, the lower the next thresholds will be. And so the more carmaker will pay fines on each car sold which doesn’t meet these lower thresholds.

To summarize the best they do today, the more the UE will punish them tomorrow.

Ps : Sorry for my possibly poor English.

T&E is excellent and has real influence in Brussels. The European Commission is already fed up with the national type approval authorities, and have even taken some to court, charged with failing to uphold European laws and regulations. In the last round the commission finally managed to put in place some supernational oversight, and news like this certainly provides more ammo for those who want to strengthen this authority! And that’s much needed, because there’s still plenty of systematic bias built into the system leading to lax enforcement, to the benefit of car makers and the detriment of citizens. Germany of course is the big problem here, as it’s hard to get anything done in the EU without their support and German politicians, like other politicians, being mainly afraid of not getting re-elected – the fear of being blamed for hurting jobs in the huge German car industry is the primary obstacle. Hopefully, the electorate will soon begin to realize how short-sighted this fear is. Yes, changing the market conditions carries risk for the established players. But, continued lax regulation or enforcement will just make European car makers less competitive in the long run. Far better to lead European manufacturers… Read more »

Instead of asking the automaker to donate a car for a few day, knowing it would be manipulated to skew the test results, why don’t they just buy (or rent) a new model off a dealer lot? That way, they would be getting results that the public would get in everyday driving.

Agree and the EPA should be doing the same thing here which is what Consumer Reports does…

Interesting that cheating it is now the other way around to reach the lower 2025 reduction to 75% ? (or whatever value is required). When getting real 100 points inflated to 160 measured now, those needs to be reduced to 75% or 120 in the future and nothing has to be done at all. That’s why Europe’s car manufactures can’t deliver their cars right now because the WLTP measurement is not final yet. The old standard procedure for CO2 testing was that car producers delivered a ‘golden car’ e.g. alternator disconnected from battery, wind drag measured after doors were taped off, tires mounted after sanding-off the rubber, bake it in the oven and inflate to max — all to reduce roll resistance….. Then the consumption and CO2 emission were much lower than in real life driving. For the NOx measurement the cleaning was switched off using a loophole in the EU law allowing “to switch-off cleaning to safe the motor from destruction”. As NEDC test is in the lab at 25C for 20 minutes up to max 120 km/h : so cleaning is active only between 20-30C ambient, or switched-off after 25 minutes, or off at 130 km/h — all… Read more »

The source is an unofficial non-paper, no author, no official templates were used. The source makes no connection to specific carmakers and no connection to german companies. The source lists many easy solutions to fix the small deviations.
The article is published on IEVs by Evannex, which is well known for being pro-Tesla.

As an european, i can tell you that Audi & BMW cars suck technical quality wise. ICE hole carmanufac’s deserve to pass away.

Another Euro point of view

Could be and in your opinion which brands do not suck quality wise ?

This is exactly why we need to measure CO2 by satellite. Most govs, esp. China, will LIE about their production of CO2, CFCs, etc. With a sat, we have precision, and we know the truth.

I’m glad it happened and now the German car companies are having to pay the piper – for the peoples’ sake alone all that “clean diesel” nonsense that was taking interest away from electric cars and making the kids in Paris and London sick with all that particulate pollution – its good that regulators are finally paying attention to this.

Although the proximate cause MIGHT have been when Deutsche Bank started admitting they were manipulating markets along with the US FED that it is curious that 2 days after this a lawsuit came from our EPA to VW. I know all about the ‘concern’ California showed before hand, but I’m sure there was a bit of ‘We’ll get back at them for spilling the beans’ in that there was no problem with the US putting the screws to a major German Industry. Certainly at minimum it was a nudge in the right direction, and rightly or wrongly, I’m glad the Spotlight has finally been put on VW and Bosch, and anyone else putting out Smoke Belching vehicles.