Saturday

19th Oct 2019

Visual Data

Eastern Europeans shy away from Volkswagen's diesel 'fix'

  • Volkswagen cars with software that allowed it to cheat on the official emissions test - not necessarily the one pictured - are being recalled (Photo: Volkswagen AG)

Volkswagen Group (VW) is much more succesful in convincing Dieselgate-affected consumers to have the illegal defeat device removed from their car in western Europe than in eastern Europe.

Consequently, there are still over two million VW diesel cars driving around in the EU whose software has not yet been updated.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

VW had promised the European Commission that it would give all 8.5 million affected cars the software update – although it is not entirely clear what that update entails – by autumn of 2017.

It was already known that VW had failed to fulfil its promise, but the commission has recently published update figures from most member states.

The update campaign was most successful in VW's home country, Germany, where 91 percent of consumers who owned a Dieselgate car have gone to the garage for the update.

However, success rates differ greatly among member states, with the most striking difference being an east-west divide.

Romania scores the worst, with only 30 percent done, followed by Poland (37 percent), Slovakia (39 percent), Croatia (46 percent), and Greece (46 percent).

Data from Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, and Slovenia – representing roughly a million cars – is missing.

A spokesman for the Brussels-based consumer organisation Beuc did not immediately have an explanation for the east-west difference.

But he pointed to a recent EU commission report on consumer trust, which showed that general trust in retailers is lowest among mostly eastern European states.

"These are worrying findings," said Dutch liberal MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, co-author of the parliament's inquiry report on the emissions scandal.

He told EUobserver in an email that more research was needed to better understand the differences.

"But it crystal clear that the Dieselgate recalls by car manufacturers are behind schedule," he said.

Gerbrandy also noted that he had doubts about what the recall actually achieved in terms of environmental benefits.

"We need to shift to mandatory recalls in all member states, coordinated at a European level. Not only software updates, but also hardware updates should become mandatory, if we want to have truly cleaner cars on the road that finally comply with the law," he said.

The recalls are not mandatory in all member states.

The highest success rates can be found in countries with a mandatory recall. However, there are also countries with a voluntary recall that score better than some mandatory countries.

There are substantial differences between the four VW brands – Volkswagen, Skoda, Seat, and Audi.

The figures were published recently on an obscure EU website.

The commission provided MEPs with a link to the web page in a document which answered questions from former members of the parliament's inquiry committee into the emissions scandal.

It is not clear what the VW 'fix' exactly means and some reports have come out saying that after the update the car is even more polluting.

The EU's Joint Research Centre found that a Volkswagen Tiguan was emitting more after the defeat device was removed.

Last month, Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported that a Dutch research institute found "deviating emissions behaviour" in VW diesel cars where the defeat device had been removed.

Figures based on submissions from the member states to the European Commission. Figures for Croatia, Cyprus, Greece were last updated in October 2017; for Denmark and Finland in December 2017; for Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom in January 2018; and for Portugal in February 2018.

The European Data Journalism Network (EDJNet) is a new platform for data-driven news on European affairs brought to you in up to 12 languages by a consortium of media and data journalists from all over Europe, which includes EUobserver.

Investigation

VW to EU: We will fail on recall promise

German carmaker told EU commission in a private meeting it expected only 75 percent of cars will be fixed by the end of 2017.

Investigation

VW diesel repairs could take until 2019

German car company has fixed 5.4 million of the 8.5 million European diesel cars that were equipped with emissions-cheating software. Some consumers have decided to shun Volkswagen Group forever.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

News in Brief

  1. Macron: Nato's inability to react to Turkey a 'mistake'
  2. EU: US can expect counter measures after tariff move
  3. Almost 7,500 people forcibly returned to Libya in 2019
  4. Puigdemont released after responding to arrest warrant
  5. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  6. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  7. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  8. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  2. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  3. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  8. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  9. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  12. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us