In Part 1 of why I suggested that the VW #DieselGate was only the tip of the iceberg, I gave four reasons, which boiled down to:

  1. This was nothing new and would happen again.
  2. This was not limited to diesel vehicles.
  3. This was not limited to Germany nor the German auto sector.
  4. And, this certainly was not limited to emission limits alone, but also real-world fuel economy.

I didn’t expect to see this all happen right away, but in no less than 30 days, four-out-four have come to pass. In order:

  1. It happened again, and even within the same company. VW was caught fiddling with its CO2 numbers, possibly leading to fines for exceeding climate pollutant limits.
  2. It extended to gasoline vehicles. As Transport & Environment have suggested, this is not #dieselgate anymore, but rather #autogate.
  3. It extended to other companies outside Germany. Investigations have now started into BMW, Opel, Volvo, PSA, and Mercedes among others.
  4. It extended to forging fuel economy numbers. This can lead to a 40% gap between tested and real-world fuel economy, which in terms of real money lost, equals around €450 ($485) per year, or €2,800 ($3,015) over a car’s lifetime.

What future for Volkswagen? Image credit: Simon Reading.

Can VW and Other Automakers Regain Trust from Consumers? Image credit: Simon Reading.

There are of course some things that one could not have predicted. For example, it now seems that this scandal might be part of a broader “era of cheating software”, including everything from slot machines to voting machines, as well as an EU probe of TV makers into “Volkswagening” their energy efficiency test scores.

And yes, there’s no way I could have seen this coming: Leonardo DiCaprio is set to produce a film about deception in the automotive industry.

What is not clear moving forward, is what happens to VW cars that get reprogrammed to actually meet standards? And what will the new second-hand value be? Will consumers get reimbursed for any loss? If so, this might require putting aside more funds than VW or other companies had planned to.

In the next Part (no. 3) of this series, I will look at how exactly the US is better set up to detect this type of fraud compared to Europe, and in the final Part (no. 4), I will discuss whether or not diesel is really dead, and if the electric vehicle era is finally upon us. Either way, this story is what Lance Armstrong was to biking: the final nail in a coffin of deceit, denial, and deception.