The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal – What you need to know in the UK

There has been plenty of news related to Volkswagen and it’s diesel emissions scandal over the last few weeks. As a consumer who may have purchased a VW in recent months we thought we’d create an article on how it may affect your own car you’ve bought. Just to be clear, we are writing this information in an unbiased manner (despite being an independent VW & Audi specialist) and are not affiliated with VW or any government authorities on the matter.

car with mcm numberplate

What went wrong with VW and it’s emissions?

According to American government sources, they found that VW had a ‘performance reducing’ device inside their recent diesel vehicles which activated when being tested by the authorities which in turn improved emissions results. VW have since commented on the scandal and admitted “We’ve totally screwed up,” according to VW America boss Michael Horn. The German car manufacturer has also owned up to cheating emissions tests in the US.

What was the device doing and how did it work?

VW and the authorities haven’t given any technical evidence yet – possibly due to the legal process going on in the US – but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed that VW diesel engines tested included clever computer software which could sense the typically associated factors of testing conditions and adjust the car’s performance to lower than normal engine power and thus reducing the emissions emitted. The EPA then went on to add that when the VW diesel cars were driven on normal road conditions, they would switch their performance back to normal driving conditions which meant nitrous oxide emissions went up by as much as 40 times.

Does the VW emissions scandal cover just the US?

More and more information is coming out about the VW emissions scandal since the US authorities discovered the so-called ‘defeat device’. Investigations throughout Europe and the rest of the world are being created due to many politicians and car regulation authorities starting to question the legitimacy of VWs emissions tests. However, VW have admitted around 8 million cars in Europe, are fitted with the device and it’s estimated a total of 11 million worldwide are affected.

Is my car affected by the VW emissions scandal and what can I do?

Until VW produce more detailed information on the 11 million cars affected by the ‘defeat device’, we can only go by the US authorities findings which discovered that nearly half a million VW cars including models such as the Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat and the VW owned Audi A3 model produced during the years 2009 to 2015 were affected.

If you find you have purchased one of these diesel car models in this timeframe, we can’t recommend anything yet that you can do in the UK other than express your concerns with your VW dealer where you bought the vehicle from. US Volkswagen boss Michael Horn has stated “Let me be very clear: we at Volkswagen take full responsibility for our actions and we are working with all the relevant authorities in a co-operative way.”.

You can also quickly check your vehicles VIN number (the number usually found on the windscreen) and then visit the relevant VW Group manufacturer website to see if your diesel vehicle is affected by the emissions scandal.

For VW cars, visit

For Audi cars, visit

For Skoda cars, visit

For SEAT cars, visit

It’s likely that Volkswagen will contact you if they will be recalling or refitting any of the models found to be affected and if you haven’t been given a letter you should receive one shortly. At this moment in time it’s a waiting game to see what the VW Group will do exactly to resolve the matter with it’s customers and the authorities.

My VW, Audi, Skoda, SEAT car has broken down but it’s out of warranty

From what we know about the VW emissions scandal to date, should your car breakdown it’s highly unlikely that the ‘defeat device’ was the cause, since this only affected the emissions testing as far as we know. If you are outside of your car warranty and are experiencing issues with your vehicle then you’ll likely need to visit a garage to resolve the issue. Here at MCM Garage we specialise in repairing, servicing and carrying out MOTs on VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT cars, so if you’re local to Bath and the Radstock area, we’d be happy to fit you in to look at your car and even provide a courtesy car during repairs. Please get in contact with us today on 01761 415 501 or visit our contact page.