An ex-EU Environmental Commissioner warned colleagues about car manufacturers manipulating emissions tests as early as 2013.
The Financial Times reported that, in February 2013, Environmental Commissioner Janez Potocnik sent a letter to the European Commissioner in charge of industrial policy, Antonio Tajani, raising concerns. The letter detailed worries that the performance of cars had been tailored to comply with emissions tests but that, outside of the specific testing environment, in normal driving conditions, the car’s increase in emissions would exceed EU limits.
Mr Potocnik went so far as to say that the primary reason air quality standards were not reaching the levels required by EU law was because of the discrepancy between how cars performed on the roads compared to in the laboratories where emissions testing takes place.
The revelation calls into question just how long Volkswagen has been cheating emissions tests.
Volkswagen is suspending more of their workers. This follows on from the news that 10 Senior Executives have been suspended as another engine type is being investigated for cheat device.
A law firm has advised the car manufacturer to suspend anyone who could have been involved in the scandal. This means that it is not just Senior Managers who will be suspended. Lower level engineers who might have been involved with the installation defeat devices into VW diesel engines will be suspended until found innocent so that they cannot interfere with the investigation.
In Germany, VW owners who have old models that are affected by the emissions scandal might be given discounts on new cars. If the owners return their 1.6 litre diesel engine vehicles that require hardware fixes (which are expensive in comparison to those that just need software updates) to their Volkswagen dealership, they could get a discount on a new car.
It remains to be seen whether UK Volkswagen car dealerships will offer any similar sort of deal.
If you have been affected by the VW emissions scandal, either as a vehicle owner, business or shareholder, please register your details with us on our VW Emission Scandal Investigation page.
Jacqueline Young is Head of Group Litigation at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Follow Jacqueline Young on Twitter for live updates on the VW scandal.