Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Former Audi engineer claims CEO Stadler ordered defeat device
Volkswagen accused of attempting to 'hoodwink' consumers over emissions cheating software
By consumer affairs reporter Amy Bainbridge
Volkswagen has been accused of pressuring drivers to accept a software upgrade for vehicles implicated in the global emissions scandal, or face the possibility of no compensation.
The company asked some drivers to sign waivers if they refused the software fix being offered as part of a voluntary recall.
One document, headlined "Reporting Form for Recall Refusal" said if drivers declined the software upgrade they would "accept liability for any loss or damage that occurs as a result of your decision".
"Neither Volkswagen nor the authorised dealer can be held responsible for any damage or loss suffered as a result of the recall action not being performed on your vehicle," it read.
The ABC is aware of at least four versions of the document, with some using different language which states customers do still have rights under Australian Consumer Law if they refuse the upgrade.
The waivers are contained in a new affidavit filed in the Federal Court today, as part of a class action run by Maurice Blackburn on behalf of affected drivers.
Maurice Blackburn lawyer Jason Geisker alleged some dealers had also told customers they could not have their cars back unless they signed the form.
"We're hearing stories that range from threats to not performing warranty work, through to examples where customers have actually had their car detained by the dealer until such time as they agree to sign this acknowledgement form," Mr Geisker said.
"It's just a stunning document — it really does put consumers in a position that they are forced to take up this voluntary recall and if they don't, they forever give up any rights they have against the company.
"Plainly that is not proper, plainly it's not enforceable, and plainly when Volkswagen sent those documents out it was trying to hoodwink consumers.
"This sort of behaviour is simply unacceptable."
A spokesman for Volkswagen said the original version of the waiver was handed out in error.
"Unfortunately, it appears that contrary to Volkswagen's instructions, a staff member at one dealer has handed out a form that was withdrawn and replaced nine months ago by one that more clearly states the owner's rights," a spokesman said.
"Dealers use such forms so that a reliable record of the recall can be kept.
"The recall is strongly recommended by Volkswagen but is voluntary — and the owner waives no legal rights if they choose to refuse it.
"As of last week more than 13,000 vehicles in Australia have had the software solution performed, in addition to more than 3 million in Europe."
Driver says Volkswagen was 'underhanded'
Tasmanian Volkswagen driver Andrew told the ABC that when he booked his car in for a service, the dealership appeared to be planning to perform the software upgrade without his knowledge.
"I'd describe is an upgrade by stealth," he said.
"That's the bit that rankles, the fact that they didn't mention it to me — I had to raise it with them."
He said he did not want the software fix because he was worried it would affect the performance of his car.
"I didn't want them messing about with the engine performance to degrade what I have enjoyed for the last nine years," he said.
"We bought another [newer] diesel Volkswagen Golf a couple of years ago, but the comparison between the two vehicles show that the nine-year-old Eos has a much more sparkling performance than the supposedly much more powerful Golf."
ACCC describes waiver as 'outrageous'
The ABC sent copies of the waivers to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and chairman Rod Sims described the waiver as an "outrageous" document.
"I don't think I've seen anything quite like this in quite a long time — to present this to consumers without any understanding of the full implications of the fix or without explaining what the liability is," Mr Sims said.
"We would urge anyone who's been presented with one of these forms to contact us, at accc.gov.au, and let us know what their experience has been."
Mr Sims said Volkswagen had not explained what the implications of the fix were.
"Does it affect the performance of the vehicle? It's not clear from that form — it's not clear whether people have had that explained to them, so they're being asked to accept a fix possibly without understanding what the implications are," he said.
"Secondly, they're not being told what liability they're taking on.
"Is it, for example, that your car might not meet design rules and might not be able to be driven on the road?
"That allegation is one that we're making and is at the heart of the court case that VW are vehemently defending."
In October, the ACCC's case will be heard jointly with the two class actions being run by Maurice Blackburn and Bannister Law.
Volkswagen told the ABC cars which have had the free software upgrade have been "confirmed by the Australian Government as conforming to relevant emissions standards".
"Solutions have now been approved by the Australian Government for the majority of affected Australian Volkswagen vehicles," the spokesman said.
"The communications with customers inviting them to come to a dealership and have the update implemented voluntarily have been finalised in consultation with the ACCC."
How did German carmaker Volkswagen rig emissions tests in diesel-powered vehicles and fool US regulators?
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Warning: both pedals depressed
Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Technical Discussion'
started by raspy, February 11, 2017 at 2:51 PM.
(2016 Toyota Prius)
Joined: Jul 6, 2016
Location: London, UK
Vehicle: 2016 Prius
This never happened to me before. I wear large
shoes size 13 US/12 UK)
Whilst stopped I must have accidentally pressed
both pedals and this message came up. Never
seen it in any car before, even if I did
accidentally depress both pedals.
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2016 XenForo Ltd
Nissan Qashqai safety checks called for after lawyer's 'malfunction' claims
Monday, February 13, 2017
Nissan executive flies to Britain to testify over fatal crash
Nissan drivers tell 'runaway car' death trial their vehicles surged forward for no reason
Ann Diggles is accused of killing Julie Dean by pressing the accelerator instead of the brake on her Nissan Qashqai but she claims a vehicle fault was to blame.
Driver cleared over fatal Nissan Qashqai crash
'No pedals mistake'
'Exemplary safety record'
Great-grandmother who claimed her Nissan Qashqai ‘took off’ and sped forwards out of control is CLEARED of killing pedestrian
Great-grandmother who claimed her Nissan Qashqai ‘took off’ and sped forwards out of control is CLEARED of killing pedestrian
Ann Diggles, 82, knocked down and killed Julie Dean, 53, outside charity shop
Two other owners came forward admitting similar experiences with the model
By James Tozer for the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 7 February 2017
A great grandmother who claimed her faulty Nissan Qashqai ‘took off’ and sped forwards out of control was yesterday cleared of killing a pedestrian.
Lawyers for retired nurse Ann Diggles, 82, argued a malfunction in the best-selling family car’s electronic throttle led to an ‘uncommanded acceleration’ which knocked down and killed Julie Dean, 53.
Two other Nissan owners came forward after reading press coverage of the case to report similar experiences, and both gave evidence in Mrs Diggles’ trial.
Yesterday the committed church-goer wept in the dock as she was cleared of two alternative counts of causing the death of Mrs Dean by careless or dangerous driving.
Following the shock verdicts, Nissan insisted the hugely popular model – built at its plant in Sunderland – was safe and continued to insist the vehicle involved in the crash had not been faulty.
The Nissan Qashqai is Britain’s fifth best-selling car behind the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
The Japanese auto giant had flown in an executive to dispute her lawyers’ efforts to blame the car, while its legal representatives were in the public gallery amid what the court heard were concerns about possible product liability claims.
Mrs Diggles, who has been driving for more than half a century, was parking her Qashqai automatic in her home town of Leyland, Lancashire in July 2014 when it suddenly shot forward.
The vehicle mounted a pavement and ploughed into Mrs Dean, who was walking out of a charity shop, causing fatal injuries.
The pensioner said she put the vehicle into drive and then put her foot ‘very gently’ on the accelerator before it surged forward and she was unable to stop it careering towards a row of parked cars.
She told police it ‘just went’ and insisted there was ‘no way’ she had pressed the accelerator instead of the brake by mistake.
Her car, which she had owned since new in 2007, had always been fully serviced in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Police vehicle examiners working with experts from Nissan said there was no evidence of any braking at the time of the tragedy and no faults with the accelerator.
An expert witness in electronic engineering told her trial at Preston Crown Court that ‘uncommanded acceleration’ could take place if an undercharged battery failed to give appropriate voltage to the electronic components in a vehicle.
Mrs Diggles’ Qashqai hadn’t been used for three weeks as she had been on holiday to Madeira, the court heard.
The US-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had recorded a ‘small number’ of similar complaints about Nissan vehicles, the court heard - although the Qashqai is not sold in the country.
One claim was that a 2007-model car was being driven at 2mph when the revs started to increase and the vehicle accelerated suddenly when the motorist was trying to park.
But Takuma Nakamura, who is responsible for engine control systems development at Nissan, gave evidence that any such fault would have been recorded in the vehicle’s on-board computer.
‘In my opinion, for some reason the accelerator has been stepped on,’ he said.
However on Monday the court heard from two Nissan owners who came forward after reading about Mrs Diggles’ claims.
Sharon Davies, of Marford, near Wrexham, told how she was turning into her drive after a Tai Chi class on January 10 when her automatic Nissan Juke lunged forward and knocked over the garden wall.
‘Just as I had turned into my parking space the car made a funny clunking noise and almost came to a stop, and I remember thinking the car was going to stall,’ she said.
‘I went to touch the accelerator and the car just ploughed forward into the wall much quicker than I would have expected it to have done.’
The vehicle had been MoTd and serviced the previous week, but when she took it back to her local Nissan dealership she was told it had been tested and no fault was found, she told the court.
Mrs Davies said after the collision, which happened while her three-year-old son was in the car, she lost confidence in the vehicle and had now part-exchanged it for a different make.
Another woman, Naomi Taylor, said her 2015 Nissan Qashqai had suddenly sped up as she turned into her mother’s drive, causing her to miss her turning.
‘I just needed to concentrate and look out for any pedestrians,’ she said. ‘I am absolutely clear that I did not have my foot on the accelerator at the time when the vehicle sped off.’
Nissan found no electronic malfunction with the car, the court was told, and the vehicle was returned to her.
In his closing speech to the jury, defence barrister Alistair MacDonald QC said their accounts ‘provided powerful support that these surges of acceleration do in fact happen’ and it was ‘not a theory’.
The prosecution cautioned jurors they were not being asked to decide whether sudden acceleration could happen but whether they were sure the defendant pressed the wrong pedal.
Yesterday Mrs Diggles sat in the dock in tears after the jury cleared of her causing death by dangerous driving or by careless driving.
Following the verdicts, trial judge Mr Justice Fraser said: ‘I would like to put on the record that both Miss Taylor and Mrs Davies are to be commended for the efforts that they individually took to contact the defence and come to court at very short notice.’
Mrs Diggles later left court without commenting.
Last night Nissan said its experts had thoroughly examined her car and had not found any faults which could have caused the accident.
‘This verdict does not reflect on the safety of the vehicle, the only issue to be decided in this case was whether the driving of the defendant was dangerous or careless and caused the death of the victim,’ it said in a statement.
‘The prosecution was unable to prove this beyond reasonable doubt.’
A spokesman added: ‘The Qashqai has an exemplary safety record, and has been tested and complies with all safety regulations in all markets.
‘Both Nissan and the police have concluded that the vehicle was operating as expected and with no fault that could have contributed to this tragic set of circumstances.’
A spokesman for Which? said it had not been informed of similar incidents. Both the AA and RAC declined to comment.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4202212/Woman-claimed-Nissan-Qashqai-took-cleared.html#ixzz4YbmsSYg4
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