#Dieselgate: Volkswagen will recall 11 million diesel cars (eventually), makes you think it’s only 5 million

Volkswagen announced today the eventual recall of some 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide. If your car is fitted with an EA 189 EU5 diesel engine, you will have to see your dealer, eventually. Also, Volkswagen makes you think it’s only 5 million cars. But as a Dailykanban reader, you know better.

Customers will receive nothing else than a letter, in which they are told “that the emissions characteristics of their vehicles will be corrected in the near future,” and that the cars are safe to drive.

Then, Volkswagen will come up with a solution. Currently, the solution is unclear. In October, Volkswagen wants to “present the technical solutions and measures to the responsible authorities.” Still no reason to drive to your dealer. Customers “will be kept informed over the coming weeks and months,” Volkswagen says. This doesn’t sound like a campaign where a piece of new software is flashed. As we know, Volkswagen tried this in the U.S. , and it didn’t work. If the “technical solution” involves parts, and it sounds like it does, then the parts need to be developed, tested, and made. 11 million cars is more than Volkswagen sells worldwide in one year.

Making and eventually fitting the parts will be a mammoth undertaking, even if VW tries to make the job look smaller. Says the press release:

“An internal evaluation on Friday established that a service procedure is required for some five million vehicles from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand out of a total eleven million Group vehicles worldwide.”

Nice parlor trick. Here is the fluff-free version: There are 5 million Volkswagen Passenger cars that need work, and there are some 6 million from the other Group brands, for a grand total of 11 million.

Here is the breakdown.

Volkswagen Group affected diesel cars
Volkswagen Passenger 5,000,000
Seat 700,000
Audi 2,100,000
Skoda 1,200,000
VW Commercial 1,800,000
Total 10,800,000

Volkswagen pulled off a similar PR parlor trick last week, when it revealed that the defeat devices are “also installed in other Volkswagen Group vehicles with diesel engines.” Volkswagen said that “for the majority of these engines the software does not have any effect.” It then continued saying that “discrepancies relate to vehicles with Type EA 189 engines, involving some eleven million vehicles worldwide.”

It was and is widely understood and reported that the defeat device is in 11 million cars, and that it lies dormant in most of them. Not true. According to this release, the device is active in 11 million cars, and it lies dormant in many more. The 11 million cars with the active device are being recalled. What happens to the cars with the dormant device?

Also, it was and is widely reported that Martin Winterkorn said he knew nothing about the device. Also not true. Winterkorn said that he is “not aware of any wrong doing” on his part. Big difference. With that statement, he can know every detail about the device. As long as he doesn’t feel guilty, he’s fine.

Volkswagen defeat devices are alive and well in the company’s PR texts.