Shoes drop in diesel debacle: In the EU, BMW X3 worse than Passat, other cars affected, more heads to roll



If Volkswagen’s diesel debacle causes such an uproar in mostly diesel-disinclined America, what would be the effect of cheating found in Europe, where half of the cars run on oil? We are about to find out. Volkswagen’s cheaters are on Europe’s roads, and assumed clean BMW finds itself dirty.

Germany’s Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt said today, investigators dispatched to Wolfsburg were told that manipulated diesel-VWs have been sold in European markets. “We have been informed that also in Europe, vehicles with 1.6 and 2.0 liter diesel engines are affected by the manipulations that are being talked about,” Dobrindt told Reuters. Details are still being researched. However, it is a safe bet that the number is vastly higher than the 500,000 cheater diesels in the U.S. Most of the 11 million globally affected VWs most likely were sold in Europe. The minister said that cars will be re-checked for compliance, and that the checks will be extended to other brand than those of Volkswagen, says Der Spiegel.

Germany’s hard-hitting AUTO BILD meanwhile reports that in a real-world road test, BMW’s X3 x drive produced NOx eleven times higher than the Euro 6 norm. This is much worse than the scandal-ridden Passat in the US. A BMW spokesman denied the existence of any defeat devices. “BMW’s have no function to identify emissions testing,” the spokesman said. BMW was previously assumed to be unaffected by the spreading scandal. Stock site Seekingalpha recommended yesterday night to buy BMW, because “BMW’s cars are clean.” This morning, BMW shares fell 7 percent.

In Wolfsburg, more heads are expected to roll tomorrow. Reuters sees “U.S. chief Michael Horn and group sales chief Christian Klingler as potentially vulnerable.” The Daily Kanban heard yesterday from the hallway radio that Hackenberg / Neusser / Klingler / Horn / Fretzencould possibly be out of a job.

Der Spiegel reports just now that Ulrich Hackenberg, his replacement Heinz-Jakob Neußer, and the powertrain expert Wolfgang Hatz will be asked to go. The hallway radio says that the U.S. market will receive its own member on VW’s board, and that the board member might be Winfried Vahland, currently Skoda chief, and before that chief of Volkswagen China.  Currently, China is the only overseas market with its own board seat. The seat belongs to Jochem Heizmann.

We will know more tomorrow.

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