German carmakers take diesel updates seriously

Author: Mario Schmidtgen
Date: 03.06.2019

Other EU countries are lagging behind

Three and a half years have passed since the exhaust scandal at Volkswagen was discovered. However, the issue is far from over. While the legal work has not even begun properly, the roads are still full of vehicles with manipulated diesel software. This is shown by current figures from the EU Commission.

Even though in Germany 99 percent of the affected cars were in the workshop and had upgraded the software, not even half of the affected cars were processed in the Central and Eastern European countries. The lowest rate is in Romania where just 37 percent of the manipulated vehicles were in a workshop. But in this country it is a voluntary recall.

Too slow from the environmental organizations’ point of view

But even in countries where retrofitting is mandatory, Volkswagen still has a long way to go before all vehicles are actually upgraded. In France, for example, only 74 percent of cars were in workshops, and the situation is similar in the Netherlands. In Austria, Denmark and Portugal things are looking a little better. Here, 85 percent of the affected cars have already been processed. Only in Finland the figure comes to 95 percent, almost as high as in Germany.

Environmental organizations are raising their voices because of the low speed: “The current snail’s pace at which diesel cars are being made cleaner in Europe is unacceptable” says Florent Grelier of Transport & Environment. Not even the promises made in recent years have been kept. “It is time for governments to become tougher and impose mandatory recalls across the EU” said Grelier. There is no need for new legislation. Political will alone is enough.

The most affected model of the VW group is probably the Porsche Cayenne. Although the car has not installed the notorious EA 189 manipulation engine, the car nevertheless emits an enormous amount of toxic nitrogen oxides, so that it is sometimes bindingly recalled. In Germany, 92 percent of the affected vehicles have already been processed. Other countries have not even started to install the software updates.

The affected Audi models have also not yet been updated in Austria, although this is a mandatory update. In Germany, the rate for the A6, A7 and A8 models is only 49 to 81 percent.

But not only the Volkswagen Group is affected. Other manufacturers are also involved in mandatory recalls. According to the report, BMW only retrofitted 79 percent of the affected vehicles. Daimler has only modified about one third (37 percent) of the C-Class models.

“The EU internal market fails when things go wrong”

Compared to France, however, Daimler is already a long way ahead. So far, only three percent of the French C-Classes have been retrofitted. Nevertheless, the GLC, Vito and V-Class models look much better with 88 percent.

“The EU internal market fails when it comes to emissions from cars, it only works when it comes to selling cars, but not when it comes to recalls when things go wrong” criticizes Florent Grelier. Above all it is unacceptable that there is no uniform solution for EU countries to carry out the updates. “There must be no second-class Europeans. Every European has the same right to clean air”.