The year 2016 is fast coming to and end but will always be remembered as the year that Volkswagen AG needed to reverse public perception over the diesel gate scandal that affected some 11 Million vehicles globally during 2015. With it's hands full with public apologies, court battles, falling share prices, Diesel vehicle recalls and general damage control caused by the negative impact to their brand after admitting that they circumvented emissions standards; VW have been somewhat curtailed from their key business of manufacturing cars.
With the uncertainty regarding the future of diesel, especially considering that the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City pledged to ban all diesel cars by 2025. And with the ever looming legislative imperative to cut down on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and other harmful gases, automotive manufacturers as a whole have started to seriously invest in electric-powered-car technology.
Volkswagen produced the Volkswagen e-Golf hatchback which is however not a purposely built electric car but rather shares the powertrain hardware of the Golf MK7 MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) Typ 5G, but fitted with an electric motor in place of its petrol/ diesel powered engine. The e-Golf is in direct competition with other purpose built electric cars from several manufacturer's vehicles, like the Renault ZOE hatchback, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Tesla Model S hatchback, Tesla Model X SUV, BMW i3 hatchback, Nissan Leaf hatchback and the Kia Soul hatchback. Be that as it may, VW has sold more than 25 000 units worldwide since 2014. The VW e-Golf matches the competition in range, but the the battery management doesn't have an active cooling system which seriously affects longevity. VW hasn't in anyway been innovative nor produced anything new. Their VW e-Golf doesn't offer anything more than the competition already does and certainly amounts to less bang for your buck. Apparently the Renault ZOE hatchback seems to be the pure electric vehicle that's leading the EV race in virtually all categories.
However, VW has always been promoting “Clean Diesel” as an alternative to hybrid and electric vehicles, thus pushing their 2009–2015 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L TDI, 2010–2015 Volkswagen Golf 2.0L TDI, 2010–2015 Audi A3 2.0L TDI, 2012–2015 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0L TDI, 2012–2015 Volkswagen Passat 2.0L TDI, etc, globally. It has now come to light that not only has Volkswagen cheated on emission testing with the 2.0L TDI engines, but also on the 3.0L fitted in the 2009–2015 Audi Q7 3.0L V-6 TDI, 2009–2016 Volkswagen Touareg 3.0L V-6 TDI, 2013–2016 Porsche Cayenne Diesel 3.0L V-6.
Volkswagen had hardly settled to pay $14.7 billion and announced a buyback schedule, thinking it was putting an end to the Dieselgate scandal when the German weekly newspaper 'Bild am Sonntag' and the 'Wall Street Journal', citing unnamed sources reporting that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have found new Emissions-Cheat Device / emissions-lowering software on an Audi. Test results revealed that the Audi was emitting less carbon dioxide than it did during normal use, but when the steering wheel is turned more than 15 degrees, this program would shut off, detecting that the test had completed. The Wall Street Journal alleges that Audi management specifically detailed the defeats during their meetings.
This affects all VW owners and by the looks of things, other car manufacturers have surpassed Volkswagen in several categories. Looking at comparisons in Overall, Reliability, Build Quality, Running Cost, Performance, Road Handling, Ride Quality, Ease of driving, Seat Comfort, Practicality, Car Tech, Volkswagen is either doing very badly or in some cases doesn't feature at all. Volkswagen was lying in 10th position on the top 10 selling cars globally but has subsequently been surpassed by Tesla Motor Company, that is a new entry into the car market or rather the EV market.
Fortunately for VW, its subsidiary Audi is still in the race even though it lost 6% in sales compared to the previous year as can be seen on the "Cars Top 10" slide. Porsche is also in the running but there doesn't seem to be stats available as yet. Looking at the three stats sheets above, it can be clearly seen the VW lies 19th for Build Quality, 19th for Running Cost, 16th for Ride Quality but for Overall and Reliability it doesn't even feature. What were we thinking when be bought into Volkswagen? I am seriously thinking of turning my VW Polo into an EV, then I won't have any more engine problems, especially not issues associated with that pesky EPC light and Limp mode home.