VW Monkey Tests showed that an Old Ford Pick-Up is Cleaner than a New Beetle

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News of experiments on monkeys and also 2013 tests on human volunteers in Germany has sparked outrage among German politicians and forced apologies from VW, BMW and Daimler.

On investigation into the affair, VW’s chief lobbyist was suspended.

Prof Hutter told Bild the monkey experiment was “unbelievable and would probably not have been allowed in Europe”.

On Wednesday a VW spokesman declined to comment on claims the company wants to keep the monkey test results out of a class-action lawsuit it is fighting in the US. But Mr Michael Melkerson, lawyer for VW drivers, has described the test documents as crucial for the case due to open on February 26th.

According to tests on monkeys in Germany, an old Ford pick-up is actually cleaner than new Volkswagen Beetle.

Emissions tests revealed that fumes from a newer VW Beetle were more harmful to animals than 20-year-old Ford’s.

The test was financed by Germany’s car industry but it was subsequently buried.

The controversial report suggested that emissions from a 2013 VW Beetle diesel were more unhealthy than those from a 1999 Ford diesel pick-up.

The lobby group was financed by VW, BMW, Daimler and their major supplier Bosch. They commissioned researchers in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States to carry out the experiment on 10 macaque monkeys.

The final 58-page report was leaked to the press in Germany detailing that at 6.34am on May 4th, 2015, the monkeys were isolated in glass cases and allowed watch cartoons while exhaust fumes were pumped in from a 1999 Ford pick-up and then from a newer 2013 VW Beetle.

The monkeys were removed at 11.20, 1.40pm and 3.10pm at which time they were tested for the effects of the fumes.

Blood was taken and an endoscopy tube was inserted into their mouth or nose to examine the condition of bronchial tissue in their trachea.

Researchers at the Lovelace Institute noted that the animals were “stressed” because of the invasive examinations.

The experiment showed that there was a “biological response” to diesel emissions in non-human primates.

The EUGT industry lobby group commissioned and financed the research, hoping the results would show the modern German diesel caused less irritation in the animals but the opposite effect was discovered.

Although the bigger Ford pickup was almost 20 years old, and the VW was using defeat software to reduce emissions to just a fraction of ordinary road levels, the Beetle seems to have caused greater harm to the animals.

Prof Hans-Peter Hutter, a specialist who studied the report for Bild said it was also possible the inflammation was caused by pre-test examinations.
“More inflammation was noted in the animals who breathed in the new diesel [emissions],”

The test cost EUGT a reported $649,000 but, in an email to employees, a Lovelace researcher admitted “these aren’t the results you expected”.

Another US researcher, back in November said in a message that he had “tried to take the sting out of the results”.

The report was supposed to be published on December 31st, 2015, but a final version was sent on June 30th, 2017, to EUGT chief executive Michael Spallek and Stuart Johnson, head of VW’s environment office in the US.


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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