MID WEEK MOTORING
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.
SUZUKI’S CLOSE CALL
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.
SEE THROUGH TOWING
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.
PAINTED ON SAFETY
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.