Further details continue to emerge of the extent of the Volkswagen group's use of emission test cheating software, and the group's attempts to demonstrate that they are engaging with consumers' concerns. Curiously, though, these plans currently seem to be focused around a recall of vehicles in order to "refit the software" in the engines, which enabled the test to be cheated.

It is hard to see how this is going to meet any of the concerns of those who have purchased the vehicles on the basis of misleading emissions figures. We still have a far from complete picture of how the software worked, but it seems that simplistically the emissions results were improved by running the engine in a lower performance mode while the vehicles were being tested.

Either the "refit" will involve disabling that functionality, so that at least the cars respond honestly to emissions tests - but without doing anything about the level of emissions produced. Alternatively they will achieve those consistent emissions levels even under normal driving conditions, but seemingly only by sacrificing vehicle performance. Either way, consumers are going to end up with something significantly different to what they paid for.

This is a market place where differentiation between makes and models tends to be on relatively marginal differences in efficiency, power or environmental credentials. That being so, it is hard to see how a manufacturer in these circumstances is credibly going to be able to argue that the original deception wasn't responsible for sales being made that would have gone elsewhere if the truth were known. Nor is it easy to see how tinkering with the software, after the damage is done, is going to change any of that.