Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Paul Barker's blog: 2 October - No info leads to misinformation
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Paul Barker's blog: 2 October - No info leads to misinformation

Date: 02 October 2015   |   Author:

Given VW's lethargic response in Europe to the emissions testing scandal, we've dealt with the issue as comprehensively as we can, but the way the firm has handled the situation has left a vacuum the mainstream media has filled with some pretty poor reporting and misinformation.

VW hasn't helped itself, with one example being the announcement of exactly how many cars are involved in the UK - down to the last unit - yet not being able to say which models, engines, years of production etc. are affected, let alone what the problem even is and how the company is going to fix it.

In the absence of clear information coming out of Germany, the mainstream media's reporting has merged two very separate issues.

On the one hand, VW has, in the US at least, been cheating to pass Government air pollution tests, which are figures not published or relevant to vehicle efficiency, but a legal requirement to sell the car in that country. So it's an issue between legislators and manufacturer.

But some media outlets have seamlessly conflated the debate about 'real-world' CO2 and fuel efficiency into the same story, despite them at this stage being completely unconnected.

That's ratcheted up the pressure on the UK and European governments and legislators to bring forward new EU efficiency tests that will include an on-road element designed to produce figures more representative of what drivers can expect to achieve themselves. A noble aim, but one I fear could be laced in danger if rushed through.

The BIK bands are set to April 2020, so if in 2017 these real-world tests start producing higher emissions figures, will drivers just have to foot the bill? And will it be only on newly homologated cars, or will every model be retested at once? The cynic in me says drivers will end up out of pocket.

The scandal has opened up a much wider can of worms, and the full effects could take years to wash through, way beyond the rebuilding of a single company's reputation