Telephones at Norwegian shipowner IM Skaugen rang off the hook today as the company’s CEO brought up an old case with more than a little similarity to Volkswagen’s current travails.
The German car manufacturer will lose billions of dollars as it recalls millions of cars because of software detected by authorities in the US that allow cars to cheat emissions tests. Since 2011, Volkswagen has been the top shareholder in MAN, one of the world’s top marine engine manufacturers.
IM Skaugen, a leading name in LPG transportation, took MAN Diesel & Turbo to court last year seeking compensation, claiming the engine manufacturer had falsified factory tests at its Augsberg plant dating back more than a decade on fuel consumption for 12 engines the owner had purchased.
MAN has admitted that it has paid a fine over its misleading fuel consumption claims from four years ago.
The case was brought back into sharp focus today with Morits Skaugen giving a frank interview with Norwegian news outlet E24.
Speaking to Splash today Skaugen compared MAN and VW, and said other owners should investigate engines bought from the firm.
“Same group, same people, same methods and for same reasons,” he said of the similar attitudes between VW and MAN. “Their crisis management is the same; promising transparency, apologising and in our case offering nothing to compensate. We suspect there are many owners out there with similar issues that are not aware.”
Skaugen said that since the article in the Norwegian press was published this morning his company had had many calls from shipowners who knew nothing of the issue.
Dr Jan Müller, head of group communications and marketing at MAN Diesel & Turbo, responded: “MAN Diesel & Turbo has since restructured and revised the factory acceptance test processes for measuring fuel consumption values in Augsburg. In addition, MAN Diesel & Turbo has – voluntarily and as a precautionary measure – initiated third-party audits of the respective test stands in Augsburg. Both the discovery and the consequent handling of the subject demonstrate the validity of the compliance processes MAN has in place.”
Skaugen has sent a letter to the chairman of Volkswagen on September 24 this year as the full details of the German car manufacturer’s engine trickery emerged.
“It is now obvious that MAN is only paying lip service to the promises of transparency that were communicated when the fraud became public,” the Norwegian owner wrote in his letter to his counterpart in Volkswagen.
Additional reporting by Sam Chambers