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The Vw Diesel Business...


Mitch Cronin
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Does anyone else here have one of the affected vehicles? Ours is a 2010 Jetta, and I'd wager it's resale value just hit the toilet.... I understand there are some class action suits but I don't want to get too hasty....? Are any of you wizards easily able to say what is the correct thing to do now?

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Great question. Is this enough of a powder keg that it will take down the whole company?

Personally I can't see that happening. VW is humungous in Germany (and several other countries) and probably fits into the mold of "too big to fail". If this leads to a technical recall then the vehicles will be okay in time. In spite of this mess, VW diesels have a fairly loyal following because they're reliable and pretty cheap to operate and IMO none of that is going away because of some management shenanigans.

In the end I suppose it comes down to how much of a gambler you are. I kept my last TDI until it was done - it didn't own me a dime in the end. If you plan to do the same then I wouldn't suddenly be putting an ad on Kijiji.

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I would expect re-sale value will hold up fine unless the emissions recalibration is made mandatory and economy dropped significantly because of it. Most people won't care too much about the tailpipe if they're saving money at the fuel filler door.

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The fix may lower fuel mileage as well as decrease performance and create more heat in the engine shortening it's life span.

I would think the resale value will drop. If the fix is mandatory you can drive it till it drops but will fill up more often and have less get up & go.

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The report I heard yesterday was that the actual N2O (nitrous oxide) levels were some 40 times the limit. It has supposedly a more significant impact on the atmosphere than CO2. I'd be very surprised if the knee-jerk reaction by governments is to ban all future sales of the affected products, effective immediately.

Governments would have no choice to then grandfather all existing vehicles. Perhaps having them recalled and "repaired" whenever they come up with a solution. This could indeed be a show stopper for Das Auto.

In the meantime, I think Mitch is right - all existing owners who are considering resale are going to get kicked in the tender spots.

What gets me thinking though, given the rivalry and cut throat competition in the auto sales industry, is what about other diesel car products that may be cheating in similar fashion?

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NOx emissions are about 300 times more potent (per mass) relative to CO2 emissions.

But transportation (including trucks, trains, cars and VW's) only accounts for 5% of all NOx emissions. Agriculture accounts for 79% of NOx emissions. Most of the rest, after industry, is made up of naturally occurring chemical reactions.

So, even though VW shouldn't have cheated, the impact of this cheat, despite the hype the media will spin, will be minimal to the environment.

http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/n2o.html

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Re NOx, http://www.ewp.rpi.edu/hartford/~devosk/Masters%20Project/Other/References/everything-about-nox.pdf

CONCLUSION
NOx is a regulated pollutant formed in nearly all
industrial combustion processes. It can generally be
easily controlled using a variety of proven strategies.
The most cost-effective technique tends to be combustion
modification, such as using low NOx burners.
In virtually all cases, proper care must be taken to
carefully operate and maintain the equipment to
keep it within the desired range for low emissions.
Suitable instrumentation, such as gas analyzers for
measuring O2 and NOx in the exhaust products, is
recommended to ensure the equipment is operating
according to specifications.
This will help metal processors continue to be environmentally
friendly and within compliance of their
air permits.
REFERENCES
1. Office of the Federal Register, 60.2 Definitions, U.S. Code of
Federal Regulations Title 40 Part 60, Washington, D.C.: U.S.
Government Printing Office: 2001.
2. Baukal, C.E., Industrial Combustion Pollution and Control,
Marcel Dekker, New York: 2004.
3. U.S. EPA, Control Techniques for Nitrogen Oxides Emissions
from Stationary Sources, EPA Report 450/1-78-001,
Washington, D.C., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
1978.
4. Bradford, M., Grover, R., and Paul, P., “Controlling NOx
Emissions– Part 1,” CEP Magazine, 98(3):42-46: 2002.
5. Baukal, C.E. (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Burners, CRC
Press, Boca Raton, Fla.: 2004.
For more information, contact Charles Baukal
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NOx emissions are about 300 times more potent (per mass) relative to CO2 emissions.

But transportation (including trucks, trains, cars and VW's) only accounts for 5% of all NOx emissions. Agriculture accounts for 79% of NOx emissions. Most of the rest, after industry, is made up of naturally occurring chemical reactions.

So, even though VW shouldn't have cheated, the impact of this cheat, despite the hype the media will spin, will be minimal to the environment.

http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/n2o.html

Seems that the numbers do vary>

Agriculture
The largest human source of nitrous oxide emissions is from agriculture which accounts for 67%. Agriculture creates both direct and indirect emissions. Direct emissions come from fertilized agricultural soils and livestock manure (42%). While indirect emissions come from runoff and leaching of fertilizers (25%). Agriculture creates 4.5 million tonnes of nitrous oxide annually.1
Because of the inefficiencies of nitrogen uptake by plants and animals, only about 10 to 15% of reactive nitrogen ever enters a human mouth as food. The rest is lost to the environment.5 Industrialized farming practices have worsened this loss and the result has been increased emissions. Because of this, agriculture is the most important human source of nitrous oxide emissions.
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Numbers always vary, but the magnitude in this case remains the same. On the site that you cite, combustion and industrial processes make up 10%. Still not a big portion of the pie. And I'm thinking that VW cars worldwide don't make up a big portion of that 10% when one considers all of the trucks, trains, earth moving machinery, generators...

It's possible that the numbers on the EPA site are US numbers and yours are worldwide. It's also possible that the EPA has included the industrial process of creating nitrogen for fertilizers in their agricultural figures. It's included in the combustion and industrial process of your site's reconciliation.

I'm not suggesting that NOx should be completely ignored, but I think the bigger issue here is that a company that many people worldwide regarded quite highly was doing this for years and no one felt a need to blow the whistle, even internally, apparently. This plays into the "big, bad, anything for money corporation" hand. Next thing we will find out is that IKEA's furniture if off-gassing.

It will be interesting to see what is coming out from under the hood at Mercedes, Cummins, GE, Detroit Diesel, Caterpillar and 30 other diesel manufacturers.

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Discarding other things like performance, branding, colour, etc., what was the main deciding factor when Volkswagen owners purchased their diesel vehicle? To save the planet or save their wallet?

For my wife, she is disappointed that they appear to have lied and cheated. She says she would never buy another VW product again, even though she loves the car, or did up until this week. We bought the car for the mileage, not because it was sold as clean diesel. That was just a nice side benefit. We felt good driving it because we burned less fuel. Now, there's almost a feeling of shame when you get behind the wheel.

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Discarding other things like performance, branding, colour, etc., what was the main deciding factor when Volkswagen owners purchased their diesel vehicle? To save the planet or save their wallet?

Some to boast to their friends that their vehicle was more environmentally friendly than theirs. Now comes the shame. :biggrin1:

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inchman, re, "I'm not suggesting that NOx should be completely ignored, but I think the bigger issue here is that a company that many people worldwide regarded quite highly was doing this for years and no one felt a need to blow the whistle, even internally, apparently. This plays into the "big, bad, anything for money corporation" hand. Next thing we will find out is that IKEA's furniture if off-gassing."

Agree with your comments - the actual "crime" (of being less "environmentally-friendly") doesn't seem to be the catalyst for public anger, it is the intentional lying of a company that oozes integrity and solid design and manufacturing standards; nothing raises the blood of the public faster than, a ) an opportunity to be righteous and, b ) being openly lied to.

In fact, I'd still buy a VW today, (but not for the same price as last week...), because having driven a few I think they're really well-designed, well-built vehicles for the price, (and if anyone wants to sell a Westfalia, I'm looking... ;-)

So the question is, why would VW executives build/permit to be built, a powerful, reputation-ending time-bomb into a very successful corporation? I'm surprised the CEO lasted long enough to even make the announcement.

I think no one can really perceive where this train-wreck is going to go but the board needs to go, in toto, and the new board then needs fire a lot of people in a very public display of "course correction" before any change can occur.

No matter that other corporations may have engaged in the same purposeful data-fiddling, (which speaks to ineffective and incestuous audit processes among other things), it's remarkably stupid and quite unbelievable until one considers that the same "groupthink", (or 'normalization of deviance'), that put the Challenger and Columbia shuttles in, are very likely the root-cause of this disastrous corporate 'accident'.

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My first VW in the early eighties was a diesel Rabbit. It got 60 mpg at a time when the best Hondas got around 40 mpg. No need to mention the poor quality and economy from North American Cars.

Diesel fuel was also around 5o cents/litre, significantly cheaper than reg. fuel. The car was solid handled well but was somewhat under powered (pre turbo times).

One had to use momentum and anticipate the hills and if you floored it you didn't go any faster but spewed a tremendous amount of black smoke out the tailpipe which was a favorite pasttime to discourage tailgaters.

My best VW was an 86 Jetta, again non-turbo, it lasted just short of 600,000 Kms before the engine popped.

The TDi is/was a huge leap diesel technology and efficiency.

Notwithstanding the deception from this Corp. They, and of course the Asian companies have made much better cars than the North American companies for a long time, although they are finally catching up.

Although they have the best and worst of just about everything,

I trust nothing that comes from the USA in regards to environmental issues of any sort, as they have, with a few exceptions, the most wasteful deceitful, greedy corporations and government on the planet,

Im keeping my 2011 TDi and will happily hold my head high and drive it into the ground, Its still more eco friendly than any suv or monster truck that people like to drive to work in by themselves.

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Don;

I admit I've changed my tune a bit since I answered Mitch's original question that started this thread. We now know with certainty that Volkswagen's actions in this are nothing less than cheating to get through a test they (apparently) could not otherwise pass. It's intentional in every sense of the word, which to me makes it far more heinous than the ignorance and normalization of deviance that led to the Challenger accident. Since this device was installed on 11 million vehicles, their malfeasance directly improved their bottom line immensely. In addition to the housecleaning you mentioned, the punishment should be every dollar of profit those sales generated plus a healthy punitive sum on top of that. Then they can deal with the inevitable civil actions that will follow. If it takes them down, then they will be sleeping in the bed they've made. It might just be the lesson we've been looking for to bring the hundreds of other corporations we know to be putting profit ahead of stewardship back to a state of being good corporate citizens first.

I said might, slim as the chances may be.

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Saving money was certainly my motivation when I bought a Jetta TDI in 2004. But it wasn't just fuel cost. Those engines are pretty inexpensive to maintain as well. When you're commuting 140 km per day 5 days a week, the savings are significant, especially at 4.7 litres per 100 km.

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I'll be interested in what the MPG is after the fix.

I work with a guy who drives a VW. He keeps meticulous notes regarding fuel added and odometer reading.

I hope he gets it fixed and continues to drive it for a while.

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Don: my POV is that I would never knowingly buy anything from a company that did what VW has now been proven to have done. I must admit I am surprised that you would (or did I read that wrongly?). Nor would I buy a car from the firm that ignored the Ignition key problem that lead to 124 proven deaths.(GM).

.\

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