PhotoSit in any traffic court and you will hear drivers say that everyone else was speeding too. That's a defense that doesn't usually fly, but it may be sounding attractive to Volkswagen now that German press reports say emission defeat devices have been found on GM's Opel cars.

Germany's Der Spiegel is reporting that the devices cause “the exhaust gas treatment in those cars to be severely limited, allowing the emissions of more poisonous NOx than permissible by law. Experts say this is illegal,” according to a Fortune report.

The report follows an earlier admission that several European automakers were taking a liberal interpretation of a rule that allows diesel emission control devices to be turned off at temperatures that could damage the catalytic converter.

Opel issued a statement saying it does not "deploy any software that recognizes whether a car is undergoing an exhaust emissions test.” But Der Spiegel said the effect is the same, “namely that the exhaust treatment only works when the car is being tested.”

The Der Spiegel report says that Opel's exhaust treatment is switched off when the engine is running about 2400 rpm, at elevations above 2,788 feet and at speeds above 90 miles per hour.

A German environmental group has scheduled a news conference tomorrow to discuss the allegations against what it calls “Europe’s dirtiest diesel car.” 

VW closing in

Volkswagen, meanwhile, is said to be closing in on a solution for its 85,000 U.S. Audi, Porsche, and VW models equipped with 3.0-liter diesel engines. European regulators have already accepted the company's proposal and it is said to be in the final stages of negotiations with federal and state agencies in the United States, Autoweek reports.

VW is still working on the details of its plan to buy back some of the nearly half-million 2.0-liter diesels, although it may be a hard sell getting consumers to go along.

VW dealers say many consumers are saying they like the cars and don't want to give them up or accept a technical solution that degrades performance or gas mileage.  

That feeling is far from universal, however. Consumers like Passat owner Holly of Oak Harbor, Wash., want nothing more than to be rid of their TDIs.

"It has depreciated so much you can't pay anyone to take it yet. You can't drive it because it is so unreliable. Volkswagen didn't care they already have your money and they continue to lie, cheat and steal as we the consumers are stuck with their crap. Buy back is a must," Holly fumed in a recent ConsumerAffairs review

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