Volkswagen scandal could makes cars better says James May

James May
James May

Former Top Gear presenter James May has said he would not be surprised if Volkswagen is not the only car-maker found to be cheating clean-air tests.

But the petrol-head said history would suggest that the scandal will ultimately result in improvements.

Volkswagen's admission that some of its cars cheated clean-air tests in the US has led to calls for stricter testing in Europe.

Asked if he was surprised at what has emerged about the German car-maker, May said: "I am surprised, to be honest. I also, I don't know if I should say this, I wouldn't be surprised if they turned out not to be the only ones."

Speaking at a press event ahead of a BBC show he is involved with called Building Cars Live, he said he did not know "the ins and outs" of the issue, and joked: "I don't have a diesel."

Asked about what he thought the consequences of the scandal would be, he told reporters it would result in "probably yet more scrutiny".

May said the thing he finds interesting about the history of the car when you look at "the big picture" is that every time there is something that car-makers and consumers complain about - issues that would appear to be a barrier in the way of the car - it results in improvements.

Making reference to previous changes such as safety requirements, he said: "Everybody says this will ruin motoring, this is the end of the golden era, it's going to make cars impossible to drive and boring too.

"But every single time it happens it makes cars better."

May said these issues tend to be a "stimulus for improving the car". He added: "So if there's a bit of a scandal about diesel and it's all a bit ugly and unfortunate, but I bet you in five years time when cars are still being fitted with diesel engines they'll be much better as a result."