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Tuesday, 6 October, 2015 - 00:40 (UK)  

..:: The Subaru Impreza Story

1. The Subaru Impreza Story, as told by me
2. The History of the Subaru Impreza
3. Special Editions
4. Image Galleries
5. My 2001 Subaru Impreza WRX - Red Mica

..:: The History of the Subaru Impreza

Subaru is a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries. Which was originally Nakajima Aircraft back in 1917. It's wasn't until 1954 before Fuji Heavy Industries took on the challenge of building a road car. The name of this car was the P-1 (Nothing like the modern Subaru Impreza P1) which stood for Prototype-1. This name was later changed to the Subaru 1500. And here the Subaru was born. The name Subaru Closely translates to reference the star cluster Pleiades, which is the same famous star cluster that we see make up the subaru logo today. over the decades Subaru continued to build motor cars and in 1972 made it's first 4WD car with the Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon. From that point onwards Subaru made something for a name for it's self in the 4WD motor car department, almost like a trade mark. Think Subaru, think All Wheel Drive. However it wasn't until 1992 that the Subaru Impreza was born. So let's pick up the story from there.


The Launch of the Subaru Impreza (Japan) The Subaru Impreza was developed after rule changes in the World Rally Championship (WRC) demanded a replacement to the Subaru Legacy which was previously used by Subaru in the WRC. The changes meant that a new smaller, lighter and faster car was required in order to compete in the WRC. So even from day one, the Subaru Impreza was developed for rallying.


The Subaru Impreza reached the UK. Initially the Subaru Impreza was available in both Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) versions. However the FWD was soon dropped in preference of the trademark Subaru AWD system.


The Turbo Charged Impreza 2000 AWD reached the UK (Known as the Subaru Impreza WRX in Japan). Also in 2004, Subaru Technica International (STI) was born and we started seeing STI versions of the Subaru Impreza Turbo. The Subaru Impreza WRX STI meant much more than an extra badge on the body. The STI stood for a full upgrading of the Subaru Impreza Taking was was learned on the World Rally stages and incorporating developments into the road car. Many areas were upgraded for the Subaru Impreza STI versions. Engine, Suspension and overall performance and handling greatly improved over the standard car. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 0-62 came in at just 4.7seconds for the Impreza STI. These figures made the Subaru Impreza very sought after by the local boy racers. Albeit a bit more expensive than the your every day Peugeot 205 and Vauxhall Nova.


Subaru won the World Rally Championship in a 555 WRC Subaru Impreza driven by fellow Scotsman Colin McRae. A brilliant achievement for both driver and manufacturer. Driver Colin McRae for being the first ever British driver to win the WRC, and Subaru proved that the Impreza was a World Leading rally car. To mark the success of Subaru winning the WRC championship that year, a special edition Subaru Impreza was released in the form of the McRae Series Subaru Impreza.


Subaru took the manufacturer title for a second year in a row, and promptly released another special edition Impreza knows as the Subaru Impreza Catalunya.


Subaru won a hat-trick of manufacturer championships and celebrated once again by releasing a new special edition Impreza. The Subaru Impreza Terzo (Italian for 3rd). Only 333 Subaru Impreza Terzos were made, as a mark of the three championships won with the Subaru Impreza. 1997 also saw a few changes to the Impreza road car. Interior styling was updated including an exclusive MOMO racing steering wheel. Meanwhile STI versions were given an newly designed rear spoiler. In Japan a special 2-door coupe Subaru Impreza was released which was used as the 1998 WRC car.


The Subaru Impreza 22B. A label that often conjures up thoughts of what the ultimate Subaru Impreza might be. The 22B (Note: for the computer geeks out there, 22B in hex converts to 555 in decimal.) provided a 2.2l boxer engine, more hardcore styling all round including 2-doors instead of 4 and an adjustable rear wing made up just some of the key features of the 22B. Only 400 22B's were made in order to celebrate 40 years of Subaru and only 16 of those were destined for the UK. I've seen three in total!! UK versions also had tweaked gearing which was specifically optimised to UK roads. How cool is that!


To celebrate the new driver lineup of Richard Burns in the Subaru World Rally Team, Subaru decided it was once again time for a special edition. This time the RB5 named after Richard Burns. Sadly in November 2003 Richard Burns was diagnosed with a form of brain tumour and later died on the 25th November 2005 from his illness. This makes the RB5 all the more special now. Only 444 RB5's were made, with the option of the WR Sport pack.

1999 Also saw the release of another special edition. The Subaru Impreza P1, which like the Subaru Impreza 22B was a 2-door coupe model, and like the 22B it was only available in WR Blue. However unlike the 22B the Subaru Impreza P1 delivered a 276bhp out of the box, and supporting a whole load of new accessories such as 10-spoke OZ Titanium racing wheels, improved quick-shift gearbox, rear-wiper, new front wing/splitter, new fog lamps and a new exclusive rear wing. Unlike the Impreza 22B there were 1,000 P1's made. Despite this the Subaru Impreza P1 remains one of the most expensive Subaru Impreza's to buy today.



For eight years, the Subaru Impreza remained more or less unchanged (externally) until 2000 where Subaru decided to update the Impreza for the 21st century. This change was met with mixed views. The appropriately labeled Bug-eye version by critics, was just that. Bug-eyed! One can only guess it was Subaru's attempt to make the Impreza all cute and cuddly. But this didn't go down well with the fans. Many NewAge impreza's promptly had their headlights replaces with WRC look-alike HI-Definition (HiD) lamps or the more aggressive looking Morette cluster. What was in favour of the fans was the globalisation of the WRX name. Previously only used in Japan, the WRX badge was now stuck to any Impreza with a Turbo!


To celebrate Richard Burns's win in the WRC and the launch of the of the new model, Subaru decided to launch yet another special edition Impreza. This time the Subaru Impreza UK300. Once again just like the 22B and P1 the only colour available was WR Blue. The UK300 supported new prodrive styled spoilers of which the rear wing looked like was picked from bit of an airfix kit and not put together properly. Thankfully the front end was improved slightly, with the addition of improved HiD headlamps which made the car look slightly less like a bug. Yet no matter what they did, it was still going to be remembered as the Bug-Eyed version. 2001 also saw the arrival of the NewAge (Must stop calling it bug-eyed) Subaru Impreza WRX STI to the UK. Just like previous STI's, this was based on the WRX but tweaked a little by the Subaru Technica International (STI) team. If that wasn't enough there was also the option of a Prodrive Performance Pack (PPP). The Subaru Imrpeza WRX STI saw a few key changes over the standard Subaru Impreza WRX. This time, the addition of a 6-speed gearbox as opposed to the WRX 5-speed. Also a nice welcome was similar headlamps which were found on the UK300.


It didn't take long before Subaru had to give in to pressure from fans and go back to the drawing board (literally) to come up with a new style Subaru Impreza. So in 2002, Subaru announced yet another NewAge Impreza. The MY03. Main difference here was the front end. More or less everything else stayed the same, but those bug-eyed headlamps were out and replaced with slightly less ugly ones. Also a bigger bonnet scoop was included. Not to be outdone, the Subaru Impreza WRX power was increased by 10bhp. Not surprisingly many Bug-eyed Subaru Impreza's were made available on the 2nd hand market as many owners wanted to change their driveway accessory for the new style Subaru Impreza.

Although Turbo versions of the Subaru Impreza were available in Japan and Europe from more or less day one. The US favoured their muscle cars and not these Japanese breed of performance cars. Which meant the Subaru Impreza Turbo's never "officially" reached US soil until the 2002 model. Any previous Subaru Impreza's were Imports. Unfortunately for the US market the famous 2.0l boxer engine had to go. The fuel regulations in the US meant that the high performance expected from the Subaru Impreza could not be achieved from the 2.0l engine with US fuel. Instead, the Subaru Impreza was given a nice new 2.5l boxer engine for the US market, in order to keep the power and performance up.


Another Subaru WRC title win with Petter Solberg at the wheel. Once again sticking with tradition a new special edition was released, known as the Subaru Impreza WR1. I must admit the WR1 is one of my personal favourites, if only because of the unique Ice Blue colour. Only 500 WR1's were made, but Subaru decided to throw everything at it, including PPP and Driver Controlled Centre Diff (DCCD). The Subaru Impreza WRX STI also saw further improvements in 2004 with upgraded mechanics from the Japanese models. This new revised STI saw a new front diff, along with the DCCD system which was found on the WR1 and UK300 models. Nice!


Towards the end of 2005. Again just 2 years after the previous model was replaced, Subaru decided to release another new bodied Subaru Impreza, the MY06. This time with new crystal rear light cluster and yet another new front end. The jury is still out about whether or not it is a hit or a miss. I personally think it looks Awesome. Almost as though Subaru have forgotten the last 5 years and gone back to the aggressive styling of the original Subaru Impreza from the 90's! I admit, it did take a few days to get used to, but after you see past the SEAT grill and BMW headlamps you soon realise that this is the sort of car you want other people to see you in, in their rear view mirror. (Admittedly briefly as you scream past them shortly after words :) Sadly the MY06 marked the end for the traditional 2.0l boxer engine. Instead we saw the introduction of the 2.5l boxer engine into the Subaru Impreza. A sad end which seems to have gone relatively unnoticed. But then think of what they can do with that extra 500cubic centimetres of space. Mwaahaahaahaa!...


Towards the end of 2006. Subaru / Prodrive announced the realease of a new Special Edition Impreza. Sadly without recent success in the WRC. This time the special edition was to celebrate the life of previous Subaru WRC Champion Richard Burns who sadly died 12 months previously due to a brain tumour. The New Special Edition Subaru Impreza was to be named the RB320. That's 320bhp and a limited number of 320 to be produced. Essentially the RB320 is a 2006 model Subaru Impeza WRX STi PPP with just abotu ever add on you can think of, along with bespoke prodrive/blitsen dampers, exclusive obsidian black paint work, black alloys and full dront grill set. All in all making the RB320 very exclusive and ver agressive looking with only small markings on the passenger, drivers doors and boot lid of a small orange RB320 logo. The rest of the car is very much black in respect for the late Richard Burns. A true trubite to a great champion!



I have yet to come up with a word that describes Subaru in 2007. At the time of writing Subaru had recently announced the drascically redesigned 2008 model of the Subaru Impreza (You can see some photos here) Make your own mind up about what you think of it. My initial thoughts are yuk.. And I have to say my thoughts are still more or less the same. The car does NOT look agressive as it shoudl and just looks like any other family hatchback on the road. a fair pecentage of the Impreza's appeal has always been it's agressive shape and styling. Even teh bugeye version admitedly wasn't welcomed by many had the trademark styling that for every other angle you knew it was an Impreza and more importantly a car to be reckoned with!. This new one doesn't do much for me I'm afraid. Doesn't excite me when I see pictures of it like previous styles. The same recipie is still there usign the same 2.5l boxer engine from teh MY06 models, a new intercooler has been shoved in. Power remains teh same at 225ps for the WRX model, awd as standard of course :). However the tyres are narrower than previous versions. Also it's worth noting that at time of writing there are no plans for a WRX version or saloon version for the UK. Instead we'll have the basic models then a jump up to the STi's I see this as a mistake as the WRX hits a just about affordable market for most peopel who cant afford te £25k price of the STi. However somethign new for the MY08 Impreza will be the introduction of a 170bhp Diesel Impreza. Thats right diesel. Should be interesting...Watch this space...


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Your success stories - used car buying guide

Audi A7
We asked for your tales of shrewd car buying - when you?ve chosen used over new and got a faster, more engaging or more luxurious motor for less cash. Here?s a snapshot of what you said

We asked you for tales of success in the classifieds and you responded in earnest. Here are some of your bangernomics wise buys.

1 - Audi A7 3.0 TDI 272 S Line (2015)

Buying nearly new was a strategy that paid off for Roger Hanson, as he explains: ?I was due to change my Jaguar XF and wanted a four-seater with an element of exclusivity and performance but wished to avoid smaller prestige manufacturers, such as Maserati and Porsche, where dealerships are scarce and maintenance costs are at a premium. 

?I purchased an eight-month-old Audi A7 3.0 TDI 272 S line with 3600 miles on the clock for £36,750, a saving of more than £16,000 against the list price. It?s a pleasure to drive: fast, practical and economical. Bang for buck indeed.?

2 - Alfa Romeo SZ (1992)

Stuart Underwood from Weston-super-Mare used Autocar for buying inspiration in 2004. ?I was sorely tempted after reading the excellent road test result of the oh-so-sensible Volkswagen Golf 2.0 GTD, although I thought its as-tested price of over £24k a bit steep,? he says.

?Later that week, I spotted an ad for a car I had lusted over for years, the Alfa Romeo SZ, and it was £5k cheaper than the Golf, so in a fit of insanity I bought it.

?Eleven years later, the Alfa is now worth considerably more than I paid and every time I look at it I still can?t believe it?s mine. For an easy life, buy new. To realise your dreams, buy used.?

3 - Subaru Legacy 3.0 Spec B (2007)

Nigel Johns says: ?I bought my automatic version in 2009 for £13,500. The original retail price was over £30k. The car has been totally reliable and the performance is outstanding. It brings a smile to my face each time I drive it.

?This car seems to have been very much overlooked by British car buyers, although it is very popular elsewhere in the world.

?The fuel economy isn?t great if the performance is used but, taken steadily, it can return more than 31mpg on 99-octane petrol.?

4 - Porsche 911 (2008)

Nick Tiley from Cambridge faced a decision when the time came to move on from his much-loved five-cylinder Ford Focus ST. ?You might think that the obvious choice was a Volkswagen Golf R.

But the cash outlay on a new one also covered a 2008 ?997? Carrera Gen 2 with reasonable mileage. I?m sure that over three or four years, my cost of ownership will work out significantly lower than the Golf and the smiles per mile will be higher. It?s a very special car.?

5 - Jaguar XFR (2010)

?I have recently bought a 2010 Jaguar XFR,? says Martin Willoughby from Cardiff. ?Five litres, 503bhp - what a beast! It has one previous owner, 45k miles, a full Jaguar service history and all paperwork and receipts. When new, it cost more than £65k, including extras. The original owner has taken a £43k hit.?

Martin rates his car as ?awesome? and says ?everything works as it should?. It?s rapid but ?on a recent cruise up to north Wales, it returned just under 30mpg?.

6 - Mercedes-Benz CLK 200k (2008)

Mercedes-Benz enthusiast Gerard Reilly budgeted for a three-year-old Volkswagen Golf diesel but instead fulfilled his dream of putting a three-pointed star on his drive.

?I managed to locate a 2008 CLK 200K with one owner and only 43,000 miles on the clock from a main dealer in the south-east of Ireland,? he says.

?The car is Tanzanite blue with tan leather and the previous owner ticked a good number of boxes on the options list, including an electric sunroof, heated seats, lumbar support, electric memory seats and an electric steering column.

?I paid ?16,000 [£11,500] for it, around one-third of its cost new. I think that I have got an SL or CL specification in a more modest CLK. The car drives superbly and has been much admired.?

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Ford Focus ST given 271bhp with Mountune upgrade
Official Mountune upgrade makes Ford's hot hatchback more competitive against key rivals from Vauxhall, Seat and Volkswagen

Ford has released an official engine upgrade for the Focus ST, taking power output from the car's 2.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine from 247bhp to 271bhp.

The upgrade, which comes from engine tuner Mountune, costs £1195 and takes two hours to fit at a main Ford dealer. The upgrade includes a new large capacity intercooler and air filter, as well as remapped software. As well as increasing maximum power, the upgrade also improves torque from 254lb ft to 295lb ft at 2750rpm.

Ford hasn't revealed how the upgrade affects the car's 0-62mph sprint time or top speed - which currently stands at 6.5 seconds and 154mph respectively. The upgrade makes the Focus ST more evenly matched against key rivals like the 276bhp Seat Leon Cupra, the Vauxhall Astra VXR and the 296bhp Volkswagen Golf R.

Ford's UK sales director Kevin Griffin said the Mountune upgrade would allow Focus ST owners "to experience even more impressive performance, while offering the reassurance that the upgrade will not affect warranties."

Mountune already produces upgrade kits for the Fiesta ST - giving the hot hatchback 212bhp from its 1.6-litre petrol engine.

Prices for the regular Focus ST start at £22,495.

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Nissan showcases Teatro for Dayz concept ahead of Tokyo debut
Radical new concept car is designed to be a 'clean canvas' for sharing content - and features a customisable interior

Nissan has revealed a new concept car which will make its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. Dubbed the Teatro for Dayz, it is said to provide unparalleled levels of connectivity.

The concept's exterior design is similar to that used on the Cube hatchback, and is designed to resemble the minimalist appearance of modern technology - with the concept also sporting Nissan?s familiar ?V motion? grille at the front.

Inside, the car's dashboard, seats, door trim and instrument panel can be configured to display photos and moving images. Nissan calls the car's cabin a 'future canvas' - with the design doing away with any traditional buttons. Instead, commands for most infotainment functions are carried out through voice commands and gesture controls.

Nissan says that depending on how the concept is being used, the information it displays can change. When driving, the digital instrument panel shows navigation data, but when parked that information disappears - to be replaced by custom artwork and pictures.

No details of the drivetrain have been released, but Nissan says the Teatro for Dayz could also be seen as an "indication of what people will expect of EVs in the future". 

Alan Taylor-Jones

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Kia Sportage 2.0 GDi 3 auto
Prototype drive provides some early insights into what to expect from the all-new version of Kia?s crossover sales hit The all-new Kia Sportage will go on sale in the UK next February, and this is an early taste of it in prototype form. We?re here to take part in some hot-weather testing in California?s Death Valley, the car makers? go-to location when searing temperatures are needed in order to exercise a car?s cooling systems ? for both powertrain and cabin ? to limits unlikely to be seen by any Sportage sold over here.Britain?s liking for the current Sportage is a fine demonstration of the ingredients that are priorities for many car buyers. It looks stylish. It?s good value for money. It?s on trend, being a crossover. And it?s safe to buy because it comes with the back-up of a seven-year warranty.That it?s fashionable has a lot to do with why the Sportage has become Kia?s best seller. If you?re a marque pitching cars on value, it?s more often the models at the lower end of the range that sell best.And yet the outgoing Sportage is actually rather average. It doesn?t do anything badly, but it doesn?t do much especially well, either. Had it looked nondescript, it?s highly likely that it would have been an also-ran. So style is very obviously vital to this crossover?s continued success.Not that we?re much wiser about that today, because the prototype is disguised with glassfibre and a vision-dizzying body wrap.Cooling limitationsCooling systems apart, there?ll be no testing anything to the limit here. That?s partly because these cars are a long way from representative in any area except their air conditioning, and partly because these tests require us to travel at no more than 50mph, and often at speeds well below that. It?s harder on the cooling systems that way.Nevertheless, it?s possible to glean some useful impressions of how this new Sportage will be. The interior has a better finish, benefiting from higher-quality materials and a more sophisticated look. It?s a little roomier, too. The load bay is occupied by a bulky suite of tech hardware making it harder to judge its size, and there can be no folding of the rear seats to inspect the resulting hold. But they certainly appear adequately scaled.The cabin?s civility appears to be matched on the road. This being a test for North American models, there are no diesels, only petrol engines that we may not get. The most interesting of these is a 2.0 GDi turbo, which serves its urge smoothly from low speeds, although high revs sound busy in this prototype. Its automatic gearbox, meanwhile, shifts with the vigour of a sleepy pensioner. It?s clearly work in progress, and there is no chance for us to try a manual.Handling impressionsBy contrast, the steering is usefully sharper than before and weights up more consistently under load, while the chassis produces keener responses. European Sportages will get their own variable-rate steering set-up, making these observations less relevant, but we?re likely to see improvements in precision.Tidier cornering is sure to translate to the European versions, too. It?s more assured through bends, doesn?t roll much and feels reassuringly stable. The primary ride over larger bumps is absorbent and well controlled, but small bumps intrude. This and the limited body roll suggest that the ride of this prototype may be a bit firm for Britain, but there will be European chassis settings, too. Road roar is quite noticeable on this prototype but will probably diminish.First thoughtsDespite these criticisms, it?s easy to see that there?s a lot right with this car, and the prototype?s rough edges are likely to have been polished out by the time new Sportages arrive in the showrooms. Expect an agreeable, easy and capable drive, and to enjoy the experience in an interior that?s a lot more pleasurable to sit in and use.Kia may have a reputation for styling its cars with an appealing flourish, but it?s also methodical about improving them. So we can be pretty confident that the new Sportage is going to be better made, more sophisticated and a more satisfying drive than the previous model. And if you like the styling of this latest Sportage as much as the last, then the reasons for shortlisting it have just lengthened.Kia Sportage 2.0 GDi 3 AutoPrice £17,750; Engine 4 cyls, 1999cc, turbo, petrol; Power 175bhp; Torque 195lb ft; Kerb weight na; Gearbox 6-spd automatic; 0-60mph na; Top speed na; Economy 54na; CO2/tax band na

VW emissions scandal: websites to check affected cars now live
VW and Audi launch VIN checkers to allow owners to see whether or not their car is affected by the emissions scandal

Volkswagen and Audi have launched websites that allow owners to check if their car is affected by the emissions scandal.   

The VW site allows owners to input their VIN number and then see if their car is one of those fitted with the EA189 engine and the so-called defeat device. Audi started a similar service later on Monday afternoon.

The VW site collapsed soon after launching under the weight of traffic trying to access it, but as of Monday evening it was functioning again normally. 

Skoda and Seat have yet to put similar sites live in the UK. 

Government won't hike tax bills

The Government has confirmed that UK taxpayers will not be hit by a higher tax bill if it turns out that their VW Group cars have been fitted with a ?defeat device?.

Volkswagen has admitted the use of software to manipulate emissions test results in America, but it is not yet clear whether the devices have been used in European tests.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: ?The government expects VW to support owners of these vehicles already purchased in the UK and we are playing our part by ensuring no one will end up with higher tax costs as a result of this scandal.?

He also confirmed that the Department for Transport has pushed for more clarity on the matter and that the next round of tests will look at whether the software ?is being used elsewhere?.

"Neither cars, nor the testing facilities will be provided by the vehicle industry themselves".

VW's remaining EU5 stock taken off sale in the UK

The Volkswagen Group has taken 4000 cars fitted with the EA189 engine off sale in the UK, pending investigations into how it will remove the illegal software that cheated US emissions tests while still ensuring the cars comply with all emissions regulations.

The move covers vehicles from Audi, Seat, Skoda, Volkswagen, and the cars and commercial vehicles affected represent around 3% of the Group?s total UK stock. They are expected to be put back on sale once the Group?s modifications have been put in place.

A spokesman stressed that the decision to withdraw the cars from sale was a voluntary measure, rather than a regulatory one. The vehicles remained on sale beyond the September 1 deadline for Euro 6 emissions regulations to come in to effect because legislation allows manufactures to clear stock of Euro 5 engined vehicles. VW has previously confirmed all of its cars fitted with the latest, Euro 6 classified engines are fully legal.

It has also been announced that anyone with an order placed for an affected car will be given the choice of withdrawing from the sale without penalty, taking delivery of the car after the modifications have been fitted or taking delivery of the car as soon as it is available and then having the required modifications retro-fitted.

More than 1.1m UK cars affected

Volkswagen has previously announced it will recall more than 1.1m cars in the UK as part of the ongoing emissions scandal.

The full number of cars to be recalled is 1,189,906, and this is spread across five different brands in the VW Group. Volkswagen accounts for the majority, with 508,276 cars affected, while Audi has to recall 393,450 models. Skoda also has a notable number affected, with 131,569. Seat and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are also involved, with 76,773 and 79,838 vehicles being recalled respectively.

In a statement, the firm says: "In the coming days, the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) details of affected cars will be released to retailers. In addition, a self-serve process for customers to check if their vehicle is affected will be set up."

It also confirmed that it intends to keep individual markets informed about the progress of the recall process, saying: ?Customers with these vehicles will be kept informed over the coming weeks and months. All of the Group brands affected will set up national websites to update customers on developments.?

It is not yet known whether the owners of affected cars will be offered compensation. Various lobbying groups are claiming that the potential loss of value to the cars should be reimbursed by Volkswagen.

A spokesman had previously confirmed that VW will not rush a technical solution, preferring to focus on getting it right. He said: "We don't want to be fast - we want to be certain. Over the next days and weeks we will write to all affected customers and we will put in place free-of-charge fixes for all affected customers."

The spokesman said that the precise nature of the modifications is still being set, but it is believed that some vehicles will need just a software update, whilst others will require a hardware upgrade as well. Both jobs are described as a "simple service procedure" and said to be "simple and straightforward".

However, the spokesman was unable to confirm whether the revisions would require the vehicles to be recertified for their emissions and economy figures.

The official VW statement reads: "An internal evaluation on Friday established that a service procedure is required for some five million vehicles from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand out of a total eleven million Group vehicles worldwide. These vehicles from certain models and model years (such as the sixth generation Volkswagen Golf, the seventh generation Volkswagen Passat or the first generation Volkswagen Tiguan) are fitted with Type EA 189 diesel engines."

Why did VW cheat?

A senior source within the German car industry has shed light on the most significant outstanding question of the VW emissions scandal, namely why?

If the offending cars have all the emissions equipment on board to make the car compliant with the regulations, why take such an enormous risk engineering in the so-called ?defeat device? to bypass that equipment?

?I expect it was pressure on the engineers that made them do it,? said the source. ?Remember this system was designed some time ago when emissions controls were not as sophisticated as they are now, and the pressure to pass the tests would have been immense.

?And I imagine the reason they installed the defeat device is that without it there would have serious consequences not in the laboratory but on the road, either with the car?s performance, driveability, fuel consumption or some combination of the three.?

He went on to confirm that technology has since evolved sufficiently for there to be no need for such devices today.

So why, then, did VW not simply stop using the defeat device when it was no longer needed? ?There are two possible reasons. First it would likely have been integrated within the entire electronic architecture of the car and not easy to remove, second to remove it those responsible for its installation would have first to have flagged up the fact that they?d put it there, which they?d probably not be too keen to do??

The source said he believed the defeat device was likely to be present also on VW products sold in Europe with the EA189 engine [since confirmed by a German minister] but almost certainly not active which he said, was ?nothing like as bad as having active, but still illegal?.

He said also he believed that VW alone was using such a device and that all other German car manufacturers had no equivalent systems on the cars they sold today.

The one remaining question is who signed off the defeat device. Former VW boss Martin Winterkorn has denied knowledge of it and his resignation, while inevitable, was no kind of admission of guilt.

Whoever was responsible, it seems likely that more heads will have to roll before the true picture emerges.

11m Audis, Seats, Skodas and VWs affected globally

While the VW Group has said that 11 million vehicles worldwide are affected by the scandal, only 5m are from Volkswagen brand itself. Audi has revealed that 2.1 million vehicles from its brand are affected worldwide, with 1.42 million of those being in Western Europe. Audi model lines affected include the A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5 ranges. Over 500,000 of the affected cars are in Germany, with a further 13,000 in the US. Skoda has also revealed that 1.2 million of its cars worldwide are affected by the scandal. Seat has said that 700,000 of its vehicles are affected globally. 

A VW Group statement read: "As previously announced, all new Volkswagen Passenger Car brand vehicles that fulfill the EU6 norm valid throughout Europe are not affected. This therefore also includes the current Golf, Passat and Touran models."

The figures also include 1.8 million light commercial vehicles.

The first recall confirmed was the 480,000 VWs in the USA. Volkswagen has set up a website for owners of affected vehicles in the US, which features a video apology from the company's US boss Michael Horn.

SMMT: just because VW cheated, it doesn't mean the whole industry is cheating

Speaking at a conference on air quality, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Mike Hawes said: "Consumers are right to be concerned following the events of the past ten days. But we must remember, the actions of one company do not mean collusion. Implicating other brands or companies would be unfair and wrong.

"It would be wrong to penalise all diesels. The latest diesel vehicles are the cleanest ever - effectively reducing nitrogen oxide levels by 92% compared with earlier generations. They make a significant contribution to climate change targets, an environmental challenge which cannot be ignored.

"We recognise the current regulations for testing are out of date. We want, for consumers and our own industry?s integrity, a new emissions test that embraces new technologies, and which is more representative of on the road conditions."

VW's global meltdown

There have been calls for governmental probes in to VW?s actions from around the world since the firm admitted cheating in the US emissions tests, including in Canada, Germany, Italy, South Korea, UK and the USA. The UK government has already announced it will launch an inquiry into the scandal.

VW has put aside a fund of ?6.5bn (approximately £4.7bn) to cover the costs of dealing with the issue, and says it will adjust its financial targets for 2015 as a result. The matter came to light when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) revealed that while testing 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel cars of the Volkswagen Group they detected electronic manipulations that violate American environmental standards.

Reports have since surfaced that Volkswagen was warned about the legality of its software as far back as 2007.

According to the EPA, this means that the cars under investigation could be emitting up to 40 times the national standard for nitrogen oxide (NOx), which is linked to asthma and lung illnesses. The cars affected are 2009-2014 Jettas, Beetles, Golfs, Audi A3s, and VW Passats built from 2014-15.

The issue will be investigated by the US Congress?s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

?Strong emissions standards are in place for the benefit of public health,? said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy in a joint statement.

?Manufacturers throughout the United States, and across the world, have developed leading technologies to reduce airborne emissions within the limits set by EPA and state environmental agencies. However, reported EPA allegations that certain Volkswagen models contained software to defeat auto emissions tests raise serious questions,? they said.

?We will follow the facts. We are also concerned that auto consumers may have been deceived ? that what they were purchasing did not come as advertised. The American people deserve answers and assurances that this will not happen again. We intend to get those answers.?

A date for the US Congress hearing has yet to be set. Since the scandal broke the VW Group share price has fallen by more than 50% from its 2015 high.

VW emissions scandal: how it unfolded

The Volkswagen emissions scandal is currently headline news, but the story has its roots in May 2014, when a study found higher-than-clamed emissions coming from two Volkswagen vehicles. Here's our timeline of how the story unfolded.

May 2014 The West Virginia University?s (WVU) Centre for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions publishes results of a study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation that found significantly higher-than-claimed in-use emissions from two diesel cars, a 2012 Jetta and a 2013 Passat. A BMW X5 also tested passed the tests. 

WVU alerts California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the issue.

Summer 2014 Over the course of the year following the publication of the WVU study, VW continues to assert to CARB and the EPA that the increased emissions from these vehicles could be attributed to various technical issues and unexpected in-use conditions.

December 2014 VW issues a voluntary recall of approximately 500,000 vehicles to address the emissions issue.

6 May 2015 CARB, in coordination with the EPA, conducts follow-up testing of these vehicles both in the laboratory and during normal road operation to confirm the efficacy of VW?s recall. Testing shows the recall has had only a limited benefit.

None of the potential technical issues suggested by VW can explain the higher test results consistently confirmed during further testing by CARB.

Summer 2015 CARB and the EPA make it clear that they will not approve certificates of conformity - necessary for vehicles to be sold in the USA ? for VW?s 2016 model year diesel vehicles until the manufacturer car adequately explain the anomalous emissions and ensure the agencies that the 2016 model year vehicles would not have similar issues.

3 September 2015 During a meeting VW admits it has designed and installed a defeat device in these vehicles in the form of a sophisticated software algorithm that detects when a vehicle is undergoing emissions testing.

18 September 2015 CARB and the EPA make their findings public, stating that Volkswagen has violated two sections of the Clean Air Act, firstly by selling or offering for sale vehicles that did not comply with their certificates of conformity, and second by manufacturing and installing into these vehicles an electronic control module capable of switching its calibration to beat the emissions tests.

Read more on the Volkswagen emissions scandal:

Muller announced as new VW Group CEO

How the Volkswagen story unfolded

Reports suggest VW was warned of illegal software 'years ago'

How VW's 'defeat device' works

Top VW bosses to leave

Prosecutors to investigate Martin Winterkorn

PSA Peugeot Citroën leads calls for tougher emissions test procedures

Your key questions answered

BMW - why the X5 complied with independent US emissions test

Blog - it's time for firm action in the wake of the VW emissions scandal

Blog - what really happens in an official economy test

Blog - It's time VW started talking to its customers

Blog - thinking about buying a VW diesel? Carry on regardless

Blog - the VW Scandal and the growing dangers of its ripple effect

Blog - VW's scandal has put the entire motor industry under pressure

Blog - Winterkorn pays a high price

Blog - the emissions scandal could sink Volkswagen's US ambitions

Blog - are we about to see the death of diesel?

Blog - VW's US boss faces the music

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