The US Volk­swa­gen emis­sions­fix­ing scan­dal ap­par­ently doesn’t af­fect cars sold in New Zealand. That was ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s gen­eral man­ager Tom Rud­den­klau.

New Zealand VWs are all sourced from Europe where we’ve been told the emis­sions test­ing regime is com­pletely dif­fer­ent to the US.

Latest in­for­ma­tion how­ever casts some doubt on that ini­tial as­ser­tion.

VWhas been cheat­ing on US emis­sions tests by us­ing ‘‘de­feat de­vice’’ soft­ware. This de­tects when diesel mod­els are un­der­go­ing of­fi­cial emis­sions test­ing and ac­ti­vates full emis­sions con­trols only dur­ing the test.

The US En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency claims that dur­ing nor­mal driv­ing with­out the de­feat de­vice, emis­sions of ni­tro­gen ox­ides (NOX) can be up to 40 times the stan­dard.

The rig­ging scan­dal could af­fect mil­lions of four-cylin­der VWJetta, Bee­tle, Golf and Pas­sat and Audi A3 cars in the US since 2008.

The rev­e­la­tions broke dur­ing the IAA Frank­furt Auto Show, and now the Ger­man gov­ern­ment is in­volved, fear­ing the rep­u­ta­tion of the en­tire Ger­man mo­tor in­dus­try which em­ploys 800,000 peo­ple, could be on the line.

There are in­di­ca­tions that other man­u­fac­tur­ers could also be us­ing the de­feat de­vices.

VW­faces fines of up to US$16.5 bil­lion for the de­cep­tion and its ex­ec­u­tives crim­i­nal charges. It has led to the res­ig­na­tion of VW’s CEO Martin Win­terkorn.


In the wake of the emis­sions imbroglio, Suzuki will be thank­ing its lucky stars it is no longer as­so­ci­ated with VW.About five years ago, VW bought a 20 per cent stake in Suzuki to get a bet­ter foothold in In­dia where the Ja­panese car­maker dom­i­nates. It of­fered ac­cess to VW tech in re­turn.

The two never con­su­mated the re­la­tion­ship and Suzuki breached the con­tract in 2011 when it went out and bought diesels from Fiat.

Suzuki’s ex­cuse? Ap­par­ently VW was reneg­ing on the tech share deal.

The di­vorce turned messy. Suzuki was held par­tially to blame, but won the court case to buy back more than NZ$5 bil­lion worth of its shares.

The re­cently sin­gle Suzi prob­a­bly al­ready has an eye on Fiat-Chrysler as its new part­ner.


Land Rover’s aug­mented re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy that makes it look as if the bon­net of the car is trans­par­ent and lets driv­ers see ex­actly where the front wheels are, has been adapted for tow­ing. Trans­par­ent Trailer makes any trailer seem in­vis­i­ble. The sys­tem com­bines the video feed from the ve­hi­cle’s sur­round cam­era sys­tem with video from a cam­era placed on the rear of the trailer. The com­bined feeds cre­ate a live video im­age in the rear viewmir­ror that makes the trailer ap­pear see-through. Fur­ther tech­nol­ogy called Cargo Sense warns the driver if the load isn’t se­cure while driv­ing, and sends a smart­phone alert if it’s be­ing tam­pered with while parked.


Speak­ing of see-through, last month Mid-Week Mo­tor­ing car­ried an item on Volvo’s Life Paint. The re­flec­tive spray, in­vis­i­ble in day­light, is de­signed to re­act to ve­hi­cle head­lights and il­lu­mi­nate any ob­ject it has been ap­plied to.

That in­cludes cloth­ing, shoes, hel­mets, pushchairs, chil­dren’s back­packs, dog leads and col­lars. It won’t stain and can be washed off.

The paint could help re­duce the num­bers of Kiwi cy­clists killed or in­jured on our roads each year.

Another Volvo in­no­va­tion is In­tel­lisafe which uses a com­bi­na­tion of radar sen­sors and cam­eras to iden­tify other ve­hi­cles, pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists and au­to­mat­i­cally brakes if the driver fails to take nec­es­sary ac­tion.

The tech­nol­ogy works in con­junc­tion with Volvo’s Ac­tive Bending Head­lights, which ad­just ac­cord­ing to the steer­ing to help see round corners at night. Life Paint (RRP $29.90) is now avail­able from New Zealand Volvo deal­er­ships.


Feel­ing ripped off by a car deal gone wrong? The Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Dis­putes Tri­bunal re­solves dis­putes be­tween con­sumers and reg­is­tered and un­reg­is­tered mo­tor ve­hi­cle traders.

Tri­bunals deal with dis­putes in­volv­ing amounts up to $100,000 (or above if par­ties to the ap­pli­ca­tion agree in writ­ing) with claims that re­late to a breach of the Con­sumer Guar­an­tees Act 1993, Fair Trad­ing Act 1986, Sale of Goods Act 1908, and the Con­trac­tual Reme­dies Act 1979.

Each tri­bunal has an ad­ju­di­ca­tor with an asses­sor who is ap­pointed by the ad­ju­di­ca­tor.


The VW Golf ‘‘De­cep­ti­con’’ is one of the mod­els im­pli­cated in the US emis­sions rort.

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