After Volkswagen admitted that it used software to vary the amount of emissions being produced in their diesel vehicles, Volkswagen is using a legal loophole to provide a defense in Europe.
In a letter sent last week to European regulators, Volkswagen Group Managing Director Paul Willis said that the company's cheat software might not be illegal under current European Union regulations. Crazy as might sound, there is a loophole that allows this.
The New York Times reports that the European regulations have a massive loophole that could put Volkswagen in the clear. In fact, regulators knew about this loophole back in 2011.
We'll let the New York Times explain the loophole.
"The loophole lets carmakers change the performance settings of their engines before a pollution test. “A manufacturer could specify a special setting that is not normally used for everyday driving,” British regulators warned, according to minutes of a 2011 meeting in Geneva of officials across the region."
Willis points this out in his letter, stating the automaker is considering "whether the software in question officially constituted a defeat device."
Now this is only a small part of a number of problems with how Europe regulates how vehicles. Automakers can submit to testing in any of the 28 member states of EU and have those results recognized across the EU. Also, automakers can submit pre-production models and do various tweaks such as removing seats and taping up gaps for emission tests.
"What we have developed is a phony system of testing where the member states [of the European Union] are in competition with each other for who can make it the most easy for the car manufacturers to pass the test," said Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, a Dutch member of the European Parliament.
Now the EU has the final say as to whether or not Volkswagen's cheating software is actually illegal or not. Lucia Caudet, a spokeswoman for the European Commission tells the Times that the governing body has "no formal view on whether” the software in question counts as "a 'defeat device' in the EU legal sense or not."
We'll keep you updated on this.
Source: New York Times
Wills' letter is below.