U.K. Journalist Lets Himself Off the VW Scandal Hook

The Independent's Sean O'Grady presents some fairly weak arguments.

This article is not going to sit well with the owners of those 11 million tricked-out Volkswagen TDI vehicles.

The Independent deputy managing editor Sean O’Grady starts out by reminding us just how lavish automobile junkets can be. We’re talking cocktails with gold flakes (Saab), complimentary Breitling watches (Bentley) and more. Then he offers up this opinion:

Why, I am asked, didn’t the motoring journalists uncover the VW emissions scandal? Too lazy – or corrupt? No. The truth is that motoring writers have been banging on about the glaring differences between real-world fuel consumption and the “official” test figures for years, me included. (Fuel consumption being the other side of the emissions story). Though the VW diesel engine cheat was a particular one, a general suspicion about such official test numbers has been written up and published in the car magazines and supplements for as long as I can recall.

Hmm. In The Guardian this weekend, someone who worked harder to get to the bottom of it all, John German (U.S. co-lead of non-profit the International Council on Clean Transportation), was solidly profiled by New York-based reporter Rupert Neate.

German is still shaking his head over the fact that after he first published his research findings in May 2014 and handed the data over to the EPA, there was, yes, a December recall of 500,000 vehicles. But in early 2015, VW was caught by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) still using the emissions-test cheat software:

“That is actually the single most inexplicable thing about this whole business,” German said. “VW had a chance to fix the problem, and they continued to try and cheat and do what they had done. That’s just amazing.”

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.
Publish date: September 28, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/volkswagen-emissions-scandal-sean-ogrady-independent/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT