Acura Repairing Ludacris’ Damaged ’93 Legend, Because He Drives a ’93 Legend

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Pore over the song titles on rapper Ludacris’s 2015 album, Ludaversal, and some themes emerge that are seemingly tailored to modern-day Acura. “Grass is Always Greener” could describe Acura’s abandonment of storied nameplates like Legend and Integra for alphanumerics; “Not Long” could refer to its belief that a seat in the full-luxury pantheon is just around the corner; and “Beast Mode” could be a nod to the upcoming NSX supercar. In reality, the album’s sepia-toned cover art, which depicts the rapper’s 1993 Acura Legend sedan parked beside a private jet, is the only connection to Acura. Yes, Ludacris owns a Legend—and it was recently in an accident, so Acura is going to fix up the car and bring it to this November’s SEMA show.



It seems Ludacris is among that rare subset of celebrities who keep old cars around even after they’ve made enough money to buy literally anything else. (And the even rarer niche of those who have had their old car restored by its original maker.) We don’t doubt that Ludacris owns other cars, but keeping a ’93 Acura Legend? That’s keeping it real. Proving that he—or someone—still drives the thing is the recent (and unfortunate) incident that left the Legend with a badly damaged rear door and quarter panel.

The car will undergo repairs at the Acura Design studio in L.A., and a few modern embellishments will be added by Acura’s global creative director, Dave Marek. (The process can be followed on social media, via the hashtag “LegendaryDuo.”) There’s no indication of what, precisely, Acura plans to add to the now-22-year-old sedan, but as Marek puts it, “We wanted to put our own stamp on the Legend while retaining the essence of the original that Ludacris has worked so hard to maintain over the years.”



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Sharing the Knowledge: Our Advice to Teen Drivers

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Although it’s statistically suspect, a majority of people think they’re better-than-average drivers. Here at Car and Driver, we’re not immune to that opinion. Now, the good folks at Michelin have decided to put our collective sense of driving expertise to good use: As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, they’re asking everyone to share their best advice and driving tips. Naturally, there’s a hashtag—#SharingSafety—that takes driver training out of the classroom and into the Twitter feed. Doing our part, the C/D editors offer our own driving tips below.



“Keep your eyes up and look as far as possible down the road ahead. Let your peripheral vision do the rest of the work. You’ll see traffic events unfolding well before other drivers do, allowing you more time to react to potentially dangerous situations without panicking or upsetting the car. And put down the damn phone!” —Eddie Alterman, editor-in-chief

“Turn on your headlights if it’s at least partially dark (like early morning) or raining outside, because even if you can see perfectly fine, it’s about being able to be seen by other drivers.” —Jennifer Harrington, copy editor

“You can’t multitask nearly as well as you think you can. It’ll be years before you can actually carry on a conversation in person and properly focus on driving. And you can forget about talking on the phone or texting, ever. Take this responsibility seriously. It kills more of your peers than anything else—and those kids aren’t statistics; they’re your friends and classmates. I knew two, and was supposed to be in the car with one of them.” —Jared Gall, senior editor

“Make every trip, every corner, a learning experience. Try to get the perfect steering angle in every corner, and take the proper line on every freeway exit. This doesn’t mean take them at racing speeds, of course, but it will teach you how to put your car where you want it to be.” —Jens Meiners, Germany bureau




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VW emissions scandal: latest news on EA 189 engine recalls

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The Volkswagen emissions scandal first broke on September 18th 2015 with the revelations that VW had fitted a ‘defeat device’ to its EA 189 engined models to cheat US emissions tests. Since then, a chain reaction has rocked the VW Group and the wider global automotive industry to its foundations.



We’ve learned of vehicle recalls on a massive scale in the US and across Europe with almost 1.2m, Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT andSkoda cars set to be recalled in the UK. Meanwhile, VW Group offices have been raided by authorities in Germany and France, a new management team has been installed and talk of potential legal action by consumers and large compensation bills persists.

The ‘Dieselgate’ scandal as even called into question the future of diesel cars in the US market and forced a rethink of VW’s future product plans with a pronounced shift towards electric cars.

All this and more is detailed below as we bring you everyting you need to know about the VW emissions scandal…


Auto Express website poll hints at damage to VW brand



A poll of 8,500 users on the Auto Express website has shown that 71% of the public now trust the Volkswagen brand less than they did before. Users were asked, ‘how has the VW emissions scandal affected your opinion of Volkswagen? While 71% of the respondents said they trusted the brand less, 25% said they trusted it the same as they did before and only 4% said they trusted VW more in the wake of Dieselgate.

• How to test cars for real-world mpg and emissions

Could 2016 cars be affected by the VW emissions scandal?


US authorities have been informed by the Volkswagen Group that its 2016 diesel line-up contains an ‘auxiliary emissions control device’ that may help cars produce lower emissions during an official test – this is different to the ‘defeat device’ that was found to be cheating Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions tests in the US, sparking the VW emissions scandal.

The VW diesel scandal was previously thought to apply to the EA 189 engines fitted in cars built between 2009 and 2015, but now US authorities along with the EPA – the organisation which first uncovered VW’s cheat software – are looking into whether the auxiliary device fitted has been installed to specifically cheat emissions tests.

If this is to be, the VW diesel scandal could deepen with further issues and ramifications filtering across to Europe and the UK. VW has also removed its application for approval to sell 2016 model cars in America, according to VW’s US boss Michael Horn.

• Best low emissions green cars on sale now


Three-point plan to recall UK’s dieselgate cars

In the UK, the VW Group is looking to implement a three-stage plan to recall and repair all 1.2 million vehicles affected by its diesel emissions scandal by the end of 2016.

The Group is currently working with the German Motor Industry Federation (KBA) to approve a permanent fix to the emissions crisis – with the first round of recalls expected to start in the first quarter of 2016. The German authorities have announced a mandatory recall to all of the 8.5 million vehicles in the EU – thus rejecting VW’s proposal for voluntary repairs to the affected vehicles.

However, each EU member state can choose whether to enforce the recall, and according to the Department for Transport (DfT), the UK Government’s stance isn’t affected by Germany’s announcements. A DfT spokesman told Auto Express: “We are in constant talks with Volkswagen to make sure the company does whatever it can to put things right for the consumer.”

In the UK, the first vehicles to be recalled are the EA 189 2.0-litre TDIs, ideally in early 2016, with the rest of the 60 models from the five affected brands recalled and repaired by the end of 2016.

• Exclusive: car makers ‘can’t meet’ Euro6 emissions targets

VW’s UK boss Paul Willis has confirmed the 1.2-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines will require a software fix, while vehicles with a 1.6-litre diesel will also need new injectors fitted. This means around 400,000 UK cars would require mechanical changes. Speaking before the House of Commons’ select committee, Willis failed to answer questions relating to whether or not UK owners would be compensated.




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Prosecutions for using mobile phones while driving down by half

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The number of drivers caught using mobile phones behind the wheel have halved over the last five years, according to figures seen by the RAC.



Prosecutions for mobile phone use are down by 47 per cent from 2009 to 2014 despite Department for Transport (DfT) research which shows drivers are using phones more than ever. The RAC says this highlights a worrying disparity between what motorists see on the road and what drivers are prosecuted for.


Prosecutions are recorded when a case reaches the courts. A motorist may be summoned to a magistrates’ court if they ignore or choose to challenge a fixed penalty notice (FPN), if they already carry too many points, or if the offence is deemed too serious for a FPN.

• New website lets you check UK car mileage and MoT history online

FPNs, issued by police at the roadside, are a more common way of dealing with the offence but numbers of these issued have also fallen. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of FPNs issued for mobile phone use dropped by 57 per cent – from 123,100 to 52,400.



The DfT’s last report on using mobile phones while driving was published in 2014 and showed an increase over the same stats from 2009. Mobile phone use is also increasingly a contributory factor in accidents in the UK – in 2014, 492 accidents were as a result of a driver using a phone, up 40 per cent on 2010.

• VW emissions scandal: latest news on EA 189 engine recalls


RAC head of external affairs, Pete Williams, said: “There is still an enormous gulf between what the law states – that handheld mobile phones should not be used behind the wheel – and what motorists see happening on our roads. Drivers are routinely using their phones at red traffic lights, or even while on the move.


“We have already highlighted the large reductions in the numbers of full-time roads policing officers affecting many police forces. On average across the country there was a 23 per cent cut between 2010 and 2014 – meaning there are 1,279 fewer officers patrolling our roads. Sadly, therefore, there are now far fewer police to enforce a law that is designed to protect all road users and pedestrians.”




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Hydrogen cars: your fuel cell car questions answered

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Hydrogen cars are finally here but what are they, how do they work and should you buy one?



Hydrogen cars have been touted for what seems like a very long time as the magic bullet for the various problems looming in the motor car’s near future. Manufacturers have been wheeling out hydrogen fuel cell prototypes for the press to drive, extolling the virtues of their advanced clean powertrains and even sipping proudly from the crystal clear water that drips from their exhausts.


Hydrogen fuel cell cars are nothing new, but now there’s the possibility of actually going out and buying one. Following on from Hyundai’s limited-run ix35 FCEV, Toyota’s Mirai has become the first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell car and there are others in the pipeline.

Best hybrid cars to buy now

That brings the whole hydrogen fuel cell issue into somewhat sharper focus – this technology is no longer confined to laboratories and test tracks, it’s here and that raises a whole quiz show’s worth of questions.



Hydrogen cars are basically electric cars. They have electric motors that drive the wheels just like an electric car but the difference lies in the battery. Whereas an electric car stores its electricity in a conventional battery (usually lithium ion or nickel metal hydride), hydrogen cars store their electricity in the form of hydrogen and convert it back to electricity in what’s known as a fuel cell.


A hydrogen fuel cell creates a chemical reaction with the hydrogen that generates electricity, water and heat. Just like an electric car, there are no harmful exhaust emissions.


The key advantage of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle over a pure electric vehicle is that it can be refuelled with more hydrogen in seconds, just as you would fill an internal combustion-engined car with petrol or diesel. There’s no long delay while you recharge a battery.



Hydrogen fuel cell cars have no exhaust emissions so they’re great for the kind of local pollutants that contribute to poor air quality in cities around the world.


Nitrogen oxide, particulates, soot, black carbon, all the nasty stuff churned from the exhausts of petrol and diesel cars that people would rather keep out of their lungs is completely absent from a fuel cell vehicles. You just get a dribble of clean water (that you could drink, if you were absolutely desperate).

Best low emissions green cars


Of course, there’s more to being green that eliminating exhaust emissions. The hydrogen to power hydrogen cars has to come from somewhere and to produce it in the quantities needed to run significant numbers of cars you’d need a lot of electricity. As with pure electric cars, if that electricity is generated from zero-emissions sources like solar, tidal or wind, a hydrogen fuel cell car can be truly zero emissions in its use phase.



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Mums call for action after their Vauxhall Zafiras catch fire

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A trio of concerned mums have prompted Vauxhall to launch an investigation after their Zafiras burst into flames.



Sue Freemantle, from Ivybridge, Devon, Claire Wheatley, from Plymouth and Jade Hellewell,from Preston, Lancs, joined forces after their 2005-2012 Vauxhall Zafira models unexpectedly caught fire with children and pets inside.

• Prosecutions for using mobile phones while driving down by half

 A Facebook group was set up and has garnered the support of more than 3,000 members, with several other owners claiming on the page that their MPVs went up in flames, too.


Owners reported that thick, black smoke had filled the cabin through the dashboard with many having children or pets on-board at the time. Some drivers had purchased their car just days before it ignited and gutted the interior.

• New website lets you check UK car mileage and MoT history online


Sue told Auto Express: “I started the group to raise awareness about these car fires after Vauxhall essentially washed their hands of my plight. I’m gobsmacked by how many others have been through what my family have had to endure.” She added that the group has been set up not to gain compensation but in order to save lives in the future.



Following the complaints Vauxhall confirmed that it was launching an internal investigation as a matter of urgency. A spokesman said: “We are aware of reports concerning vehicle fires involving right-hand drive versions of the previous-model Zafira and have begun an internal investigation to determine the root causes of these fires.


“The safety of our customers is our number one priority and, for the time being, we have no reason to assume a general safety concern.”




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Cropley on cars – Jaguar’s XE is top value, VW has created a media storm

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MONDAY – First decent drive in our Jaguar XE diesel long-termer, a round trip of 150 miles: London, Midlands, Gloucestershire.



This is the 178bhp diesel with eight-speed auto, which strikes me as top value, given that it starts around £32,000. It goes, too. I was surprised to discover its 0-60mph time was only 7.4sec, because the powertrain – comprising a 2.0-litre diesel with 317lb ft plus eight easy-shifting ratios – gives a strong response at any speed.


One criticism: having driven quite a few electric cars lately, I’d like the XE’s response to be more linear, especially from rest. Like many, the Jag gives you a pause followed by a surge.


The best thing for me is the superb driving position. Knowing how many packaging hurdles designers have to negotiate, I can hardly believe how tailored it is: perfect seat shape and position, ideal control layout and instrument view, great sight lines. It will be a wrench to give this car back.


TUESDAY – Latest dopey idea: buy an ex-Army Jeep. Actually, the idea’s not so new. I’ve had it since I was a kid, when some of my father’s friends in outback Australia drove about in vehicles they’d bought straight from the forces for £100. We laughed at their crudity back then.

Now, I see a wartime original as the perfect garage companion for a Lotus Seven or Citroën 2CV: huge capability combined with supreme simplicity.

Take a look at the Milweb site, said a helpful friend, you’ll find dozens. I did and he was right, but as a result the idea died. Ten grand gets you a basket case, the number of varieties is intimidating, false provenance seems an issue and, like many simple, high-value vehicles, Jeeps attract bodgers. Think I’ll just keep enjoying other people’s as they drive by…


WEDNESDAY – Interesting to see how some quarters of the wider media have taken the VW furore as an excuse to lambast the specialist motoring websites for an imagined dereliction of duty. Autocar has largely escaped, not least through the efforts of Mr Holder, whose appearances as a radio and television pundit have increased as he has become known as an island of common sense in a sea of misinformation.

Still, motoring hacks are being criticised for parroting highly optimistic ‘government’ fuel consumption figures (nonsense: here, we’ve been running our own since 1927), for being motivated by a love of car launch ‘jollies’ (nonsense: after a while, the luxury is staying at home) and for being too close to the industry (arguable: but that’s how you discover what’s new and what’s true). It’s all a reminder of something critics should always remember: it’s easier to criticise than praise.


THURSDAY – Disappointed to see Toyota, proponents of low-carbon motoring, describing its Auris Hybrid as “the hybrid you don’t have to plug in”. This strikes me as an unhelpful piece of opportunism. Portraying a car as easier to use because it’s dirtier also seems quite out of character.


FRIDAY – The Chargemaster bloke came to Gloucestershire today to fit our electric car charging point. My immediate plan is to use a Kia EV to go the 95 miles back and forth to London. Kia’s official range claim is 132 miles.


Mr Editor Burt has already used the car for an 87-mile round trip and returned with 19 miles to spare, so I’m not worried about conking in transit. The interest will be in discovering how fast the Kia EV can cruise. I’ll be happy with 65mph, which I reckon will be a breeze.



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Dunlop MSA BTCC season review: top 10 drivers

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The dust has settled on the final races of this year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.




After 30 races, only four points separated the top two drivers in the standings and the destiny of the crown was only made certain with two laps to go at Brands Hatch.


Here we look back at the men who have made the headlines this year and rate our top 10 performers of the season.


1 Gordon Shedden

Championship position: 1st; wins: 4; podiums: 11

You can’t take anything away from Shedden and the Honda Civic Type R this season. Devastatingly fast, particularly in qualifying, no matter what success ballast was on the car, he stepped up his consistency, too. Superb, clean overtaking was the bedrock of his title charge. He shrugged off the pressure in the finale for a deserved win.


2 Jason Plato

Championship position: 2nd; wins: 6; podiums: 10

Joining a new team could have been seen as a left field choice, but Plato surrounded himself with some of the best engineering brains in the business and set to work turning the VW CC into a winner. Won more races than anyone else, gave it everything in the showdown and came up only four points short.


3 Andy Priaulx

Championship position: 8th; wins: 2; podiums: 8

Returning to the British Touring Car Championship could have been a risk for three-time world champion Priaulx, and everyone thought he would get beaten up in the heat of competition, but he rolled his sleeves up and got stuck in from the opening event in the WSR BMW 125i M Sport. Won two races and could well have been in the top four of the points had he not been forced to miss an event due to BMW commitments.


4 Andrew Jordan

Championship position: 5th; wins: 0; podiums: 5

The 2013 champ went the whole season without winning a race but that didn’t stop him trying. Jordan, who is clearly Captain Car Control, picked up whatever points were available but just couldn’t conquer the top step. Left nothing on the table, though, and the fact he was in the title fight until the final round was a mark of his ability rather than the pace of the MG 6.




5 Colin Turkington

Championship position: 4th; wins: 4; podiums: 8

The champion coming in to the season swapped teams to join Jason Plato at Team BMR and also brought his engineer Kevin Berry with him. It took Turkington a time to readjust to front-wheel drive, and he lost ground early on while he found the right feeling in the car. That process didn’t really click together until mid-season, but he still managed to win four races in the VW CC.


6 Matt Neal

Championship position: 3rd; wins: 3; podiums: 7

The old master had a new toy this season with the rapidly built Honda Civic Type R, which only arrived weeks before the start of the season. Turned it into a winner at the opening round, and used tactics to win three reversed-grid races without really being on the ultimate pace of team-mate Shedden. Third in the points was a strong effort.


7 Mat Jackson

Championship position: 12th; wins: 4; podiums: 8

Despite joining halfway through the campaign, if Jackson’s points-per-race average had been extrapolated over the season, he would have been champion. Sure, the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus had plenty of straight-line speed, but the driver has to be able to harness it – and Jackson did. A title tip for next season, should he return.


8 Rob Collard

Championship position: 10th; wins: 3; podiums: 7

Only some very poor luck stopped the often underrated Collard being a major player this season. He was twice taken out by his team-mates Sam Tordoff and Andy Priaulx, which robbed him of big points, so should realistically have finished inside the top 10. Still, he managed to win three races in the WSR-run BMW 125i M Sport.


9 Jack Goff

Championship position: 9th; wins: 1; podiums: 4

In only his third full season, Goff stepped up to the factory MG team and big things were expected. He delivered, too. Winning at Snetterton was the highlight, but there were other fighting performances that put him firmly on the map in terms of his ability. He quickly became a favourite among the team and will be a title challenger should he remain.


10 Tom Ingram

Championship position: 13th; wins: 0; podiums: 2

It is sometimes hard to remember that Ingram is only 22. Mature beyond his years, his first podium finish at Rockingham after a proper dogfight with old master Jason Plato was epic and a real spotlight on his talents. Another podium at Brands Hatch, this time without the aid of a reversed grid, was another breakthrough. Ingram is the best of the next generation of BTCC stars.





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The white gloves are off – how to become a professional chauffeur

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The back pages of Autocar looked very different in 1915. Squeezed between all the classified ads for mechanics and engineers were large sections advertising chauffeurs.




Here, young men posted ads “seeking situations” with employers. One was my own great-grandfather, a professional butler whose job included ferrying his employer, the ninth Earl of Shaftesbury, around the country on visits.


Which got me thinking: do I have what it takes to become a professional chauffeur in the modern era? Step forward Rolls-Royce. It still trains professional drivers in the art (and etiquette) of chauffeuring, under the banner of  White Glove Training, although it’s currently an exclusive  service available to high-profile customers only.


My trainer is Andi McCann, the man asked for by name to drive Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös in the UK and abroad. He’ll adopt the Autocar star rating system to see if I have what it takes.


First things first: we need to go for a drive, so we borrow an extended-wheelbase Phantom and head for the roads surrounding Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood headquarters to allow McCann to assess my base driving level.




I’m nervous and McCann isn’t giving anything away. We choose a short route with plenty of roundabouts and obstacles to see how I handle the 2670kg, V12-engined Phantom, and I try to be as smooth as possible. Balance the throttle to prevent any lurching movement, steady the brake as we stop, no sudden movements.


I think I’m doing well as we turn back onto Rolls-Royce property. McCann hands me a three-star rating. That, according to the back pages of this magazine, means I’m average in most areas and outstanding in none. Room for improvement, then.


We go right back to basics, including the proper way to open the car’s mammoth doors and the correct procedure for shielding a female passenger from the prying lenses of the paparazzi on arrival at a major event.


That procedure involves keeping the rear doors locked – some paparazzi will try to open these doors on arrival, says McCann – as we arrive, before I get out and walk around to the passenger side.


I then reach into the front passenger door to retrieve the famous Rolls-Royce umbrella from its holder, before unlocking the rear doors.I stand in front of the opening to protect my passenger’s dignity, opening the umbrella to mask the camera flashes. When the passenger is ready, she’ll tap me on the shoulder and together we move forward, and it’s only then that my role is complete.



We also cover in-car etiquette, including angling the rear-view mirror upwards so that the passenger isn’t faced with the driver’s eyes, and using technology like the Surround View cameras to position the car at the correct distance from the kerb when pulling up.


It’s fascinating to learn how much preparation goes into a simple ‘pick-up’, too. Professional drivers will scout their locations and routes to maximise efficiency, because their clientele won’t be left hanging around at any cost. McCann tells me he was once berated for being six seconds late for a client. Crikey.


Next, it’s driver training. We go through the four key skills of the chauffeur – braking, accelerating, steering and balance – and how to keep the experience “sharp and effortless” at all times.


Finally, it’s time for my retest. We take the same route as before, and this time I’m far more aware of my surroundings. If there’s no traffic approaching a roundabout, I’ll keep the Phantom rolling rather than coming to a halt, and I look farther ahead to anticipate any obstacles or dangers. I also learn to slow the Phantom down more effortlessly, by pre-warming the brakes first.


I find much of the skill is in looking two or three cars ahead. Even something as simple as accelerating to join a dual carriageway must be done smoothly and with finesse.


Again, McCann says nothing as we pull up at the end, and I’m truly nervous as he reveals the final score: four and a half stars. Not the full five-star verdict, then, but at least I’m near class-leading in some key areas. Good enough, says McCann, to one day become a professional chauffeur. I’ll thank my great-grandfather for that.




The chauffeur’s top tips

1 – Be sharp and effortless in everything you do.

2 – Know your limits and don’t drive beyond them.

3 – Know everything about the route and your passenger.

4 – Whatever the job, remember safety first.



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EPA to evaluate another VW diesel emission control device on 2016 models

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Agency seeks information from automaker on new process in diesel models



The EPA plans to evaluate a different type of emissions control device in 2016 model year Volkswagens that feature the 2.0-liter TDI engine, but it has not made a decision about the legality of the device, according to a report from Reuters.


Volkswagen revealed last week that new diesel models slated to go on sale in the U.S. also contained software that the EPA classifies as an “auxiliary emission control device”  that is part of an engine warmup strategy.  The software itself is reportedly part of a “a warmup strategy” for an emissions control system, as they are more effective when the engine has reached an optimal operating temperature. The new device is believed to accelerate the warmup process of the emissions control system.


The software in question has yet to be approved by the EPA, though it should be noted that Volkswagen has withdrawn its application for certification for 2016 diesel models.




The fear is that this new software could potentially be determined to be a “defeat device” (along with the other software which VW admitted to using) designed to achieve better emissions results in a testing environment. EPA officials, for their part, have so far voiced skepticism about the new software, indicating that they have questions for the automaker about this type of system, and that they were in the process of receiving information from VW about it. Still, it should be noted that the agency has not yet indicated how it plans to classify the device one way or the other.


Either way, the issue could almost be said to be moot: VW has reportedly withdrawn its application for certification pending its upcoming proposal to remedy some 482,000 cars in the U.S. affected by separate emissions-cheating software. The 2016 models that have already been shipped to the U.S. would receive modifications regardless. But the disclosure of this new type of software once again raises the possibility of more fines for the automaker.



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