One of the big fears to emerge in Volkswagen's diesel nightmare is that a fix would have a negative impact on the performance and fuel economy of the affected cars. Turns out that might be true—at least in Germany, according to an . Apparently, a fix Volkswagen is attempting for its 2.0-liter diesel engines results in measurably increased fuel consumption.
Volkswagen began its first of many European recalls in January to fix its emissions-cheating engine management software, found in an estimated 8.5 million cars sold throughout Europe. However, the recall has been delayed while VW and European authorities determine whether the fix negatively affects fuel economy—and thus changes the CO2 emissions of the affected vehicles.
While a Volkswagen spokesperson would not confirm the reports of a rise in fuel consumption to Automotive News, he hinted that it might be one reason for the recall delay. "We have to guarantee that noise and especially CO2 emissions are exactly the same as before the fix," .
The planned fix for VW Group cars powered by the 1.2-liter and 2.0-liter diesel engines consists only of a software upgrade that takes 30 minutes to complete. Cars with Volkswagen's 1.6-liter diesel will also have a piece of mesh installed in the air intake to better regulate air flow, in addition to a software update.
The fix must first be tested and approved by a German regulatory organization before being implemented in affected cars throughout the European Union. The 2.0-liter diesel-powered Amarok pickup was the first European VW to be recalled, with the Passat, Audi A4/A5, and Skoda Superb expected to come next. The currently delayed recall covers roughly 160,000 Passats.
Meanwhile in the U.S., Volkswagen and regulators have yet to come to an agreement on a fix. A deadline of April 21 has been imposed, but an agreement probably won't be reached by that date. This could lead to a trial this summer, and VW may potentially need to buy back affected cars.
If these European reports are true, this doesn't bode well for Volkswagen in the U.S., where the same engine was used, but different emissions standards apply. It could be a long time before an acceptable solution is determined.