Thousands claim VW diesel fix is causing breakdowns

Thousands claim VW diesel fix is causing breakdowns
Thousands claim VW diesel fix is causing breakdowns

VW is facing claims that the fix for cars affected by the Dieselgate scandal has led to running problems, poor economy and even sudden power loss.

Thousands of drivers have reportedly suffered problems with VW Group cars since having them recalled over the “defeat device” fitted to fool emissions testing.

The legal firm leading a class action bid against the VW Group in England and Wales says that a survey of its clients found that more than 5,000 had experienced problems with their cars post-fix.

More than half (53 per cent) experienced reduced fuel economy, 40 per cent had seen a reduction in performance and 14 per cent had seen their car go into “limp mode” where the car suddenly loses most of its power.

Damon Parker, head of litigation at Harcus Sinclair, said: “Based on these numbers, 381,000 cars across the UK may have experienced problems post fix, of which 56,000 may have switched into limp mode.”

He added: “These results show that the fix intended to reduce NOx emissions may in fact have a detrimental impact on the car’s performance and running costs.”

However, VW has insisted that the measures taken are not to blame for customers’ problems.

The BBC’s Watchdog programme spoke to drivers whose cars had gone into limp mode unexpectedly, including one whose car was struck by a lorry after losing power on a dual carriageway. Another told of how her VW van suddenly decelerated while on the motorway as it unexpectedly went into limp mode.

Responding to the programme’s investigation VW said: “To be clear, there is no systemic problem. The overwhelming majority of our customers have been fully satisfied.

“Implementation of the technical measures does not cause limp home mode to engage nor does it increase the incidence of limp home mode occurring. Limp home mode is a safety feature of our, and many other, vehicles. It is activated as a precaution if a vehicle experiences a fault.

“Relevant authorities have confirmed that the technical measures have no adverse impact on the MPG figures, the CO2 emissions figures, engine output, maximum torque and noise of the affected vehicles. Nor does the implementation of the technical measures have a negative impact on the durability of the engine or the emission control system.”

The scandal and ensuing recall has affected 1.2 million cars in the UK from VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda. Models fitted with 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0-litre EA189 diesel engines included a so-called defeat device which altered performance under testing to disguise real-world NOX emissions.

So far more than 40,000 owners have signed up to Harcus Sinclair’s class action in England and Wales with the firm saying that its claim for compensation will focus on whether the cars should have been certified as fit for purpose given the nature of the defeat device fitted.

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