When you hear the name Volkswagen what comes to mind? Until recently the company had an excellent reputation for fuel efficient, clean burning diesel powered cars. The company helped build the image of Germany as the home of quality engineering and manufacturing. “German Engineering” became a phrase synonymous with quality.
That suddenly changed a few months ago when it was revealed that the German engineers had rigged the cars to essentially lie to the equipment designed to test emissions. It seems the cars' computers were programmed to operate the engine differently depending on the test results being sought. If the car was being tested for emissions, it ran less efficiently than normal, but produced an impressively low level of harmful tailpipe emissions, thus gaining it a reputation as a “green” car. When being driven on the road, the car did not drive so clean, but did use fuel more efficiently, giving it a higher MPG rating. Seemingly, the car offered the best of both worlds.