Adverse effects reported following the VW software upgrade ‘fix’
It’s just problem after problem for VW.
Although VW U.K. has tried to rectify their emissions wrongdoing by offering a free software upgrade to all affected vehicles, many owners have reported adverse effects and alleged that it’s because of the ‘fix’.
And the reports of problems continue to flood in.
Some drivers have reported that their vehicle has a sudden loss of power. This doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident as it’s also been the case for several of our clients; one reported that their vehicle experienced a sudden loss of power on the motorway, and another on a main road. They were mortified as many had passengers riding in the vehicle with them, and a serious accident could have occurred.
Although there is yet to be any finalised evidence on the problems that the so-called ‘fix’ appears to be causing, many firmly believe that the ‘fix’ hasn’t solved any problems and has instead exacerbated them.
Some of the other issues that our clients have reported are:
- Poor and/or increased fuel consumption;
- Loss of acceleration;
- Engine stalling;
- Emission warnings on the dashboard;
- Decreased MPG;
- Knocking and/or rattling noises: especially noticeable in VW Tiguans.
Reported problems in Ireland
Some Irish owners claim that dealers have refused to fix the adverse effects following on from the software upgrade unless owners fork out the sum themselves along with accepting that the issues didn’t flow from the ‘fix’. According to one owner, he was asked to pay up to €1,600 (£1,400) for a replacement EGR valve. Other owners have reported a fall in trade-in value of up to €1,500 (£1,300) post-emissions ‘fix’.
U.K. MP Louise Ellman, Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee, confirmed that the German automaker will investigate the alleged adverse effects following on from the software upgrade. This will be undertaken by the VW Group at no extra cost to vehicle owners.
Ms Ellman has continually written and addressed issues in relation to the emissions scandal. On 8th March, Ms Ellman wrote to VW’s Managing Director in the U.K., Paul Willis. In point 5, she asked Mr Willis to clarify why ‘fixes’ were being made to U.K. vehicles as he had previously provided an unsatisfactory answer in the Committee’s question time. Mr Willis said that:
“…we are removing any doubt from our customers’ minds about how the cars may have got through the testing regime.”
Ms Ellman and the Committee weren’t satisfied with Mr Willis’ answer. She contended that there must be an ulterior motive as to why they’re going through the expensive ‘fix’ programme, to just eradicate doubt from their customers’ minds. Mr Willis responded to Ms Ellman’s letter dated 27th March, reiterating that the ‘fix’ programme is to ease their customers’ mind as “customers are at the heart of Volkswagen’s business”. If the VW group are serious about prioritising their customers’ needs and regaining their trust, they should do more than offer their customers a ‘fix’.
The reported problems have caused many doubts in our clients’ minds; some have even protested against bringing their vehicles in for the ‘fix’. Ms Ellman reminded Mr Willis of his promise that the ‘fix’ would be completed by Autumn 2017.
With some 1.2 million vehicles affected in the U.K., only half of the vehicles have had the ‘fix’ applied. In his response letter to Ms Ellman, Mr Willis noted that 540,000 U.K. vehicles had gone in for the ‘fix’.
An automotive engineer, Shane O’Donoghue, apparently saw all this coming, claiming:
“Physically when an engine is tweaked it changes the balance so you have issues on other parts. I’m not surprised that this is being claimed from an engineering point of view.”
Mr O’Donoghue continues to state that VW’s efforts to correct the issue would inevitably result in poorer performance.
His opinions are shared by other experts in the field.
I’m sure that with some expert evidence on hand and continuing reports of the adverse effect, VW U.K. will feel the pressure of compensating European owners, the same as they’ve done in the U.S.