Volkswagen Suspends Executive Over Diesel Fume Tests On Monkeys

Wednesday, 31 Jan, 2018

Tests were conducted by the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, which is based in New Mexico.

This report came over two years after VW had admitted to cheating diesel emissions tests in the US sparking the largest crisis the business has had in its history, and it pledged sweeping changes as a way to ensure that kind of misconduct would not happen again.

Unbeknownst to the researchers, the Beetle used in the experiment was fitted with Dieselgate code, which allowed the vehicle to detect a laboratory emissions testing situation and reduce its output of harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx). German newspaper Stuttgarter-Zeitung later reported that EUGT also conducted tests on humans.

The researchers detected "no significant effects", according to a summary of the study.

Mueller and CEOs from German manufacturers and suppliers including Daimler and Continental will on Tuesday discuss ways of trying to regain the initiative after the fume test revelations, two auto industry sources told Reuters.

A Volkswagen Group statement said: "Volkswagen Group explicitly distances itself from all forms of animal cruelty". Animal testing is completely inconsistent with our corporate standards.

"We apologize for the misconduct and the lack of judgment of individuals", VW said in a statement.

According to the paper, the European Research Association for Environment and Health in the Transport Sector examined participants at the University of Aachen "after inhaling NO2 at different concentrations for several hours each". It said it was investigating the work and background of the research group. Volkswagen said the project was "not completed or published" before the EUGT was dissolved in June 2017. The study did not deliver a definitive result.

Volkswagen, last night, announced it had suspended its chief lobbyist, Thomas Steg, who'd admitted knowing about the study.

Government officials, environmental groups and animal rights activists all condemned the experiment.

In Brussels, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said yesterday the European Union was "shocked" and took note of Berlin's vow to investigate the matter, adding that "we hope that they will".

The EUGT's approach contradicts our values and ethical principles.

Results of the research had not been published by the time the EUGT disbanded a year ago. That, they say, was done by a research advisory board made up of scientists. (Bosch, a major German auto parts supplier, had been a member but dropped out in 2013.) In recent days, the three carmakers have repudiated the work of the group, which folded previous year.

The monkey scandal is another black eye for the German auto industry as it seeks to move past the Volkswagen scandal and the doubts it unleashed over how clean diesel technology really was. At BMW, the only model left that's available with a diesel is the 3 Series.