Billions of dollars in fines, and the complete collapse of a worldwide brand are at stake. The VW diesel scandal continues to grow and consume more and more of Volkswagen’s money and reputation. If you’re not up to date on this ongoing story, today we’ll make sure you have all the details you need to understand what’s happening, and how it will affect Volkswagen and diesel cars as a whole.
Join us as we examine the past, present, and future implications of what has happened. It all started with allegations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that stated VW was cheating on their emissions tests. The issue is not only in the U.S., but also around the world. What’s more, the number of cars affected is 11 million and growing! Let’s dive right into to what some websites are calling “Dieselgate.”
The Big Scandal: How it Began
This entire issue started very recently when the EPA claimed that Volkswagen found away to get around the emissions requirements by using a “defeat device” that allows the cars to detect when they are being tested, and alter their emissions accordingly to seemingly pass the test with flying colors.
In reality, when the cars are on the road, they are actually putting out 10 to 40 times more than the legal levels of pollutants. If these allegations are true (and it seems like they are) then VW is looking at some serious financial and criminal penalties since they knowingly broke the law.
Automotive news put the entire issue into perspective stating that “Compared with other run-ins between the EPA and automakers, VW’s alleged violation stands out in its brazenness.”
VW has already set aside $7.2 billion in just the third quarter to cover the issue which has been confirmed to affect 11 million cars worldwide. They’ve already halted sales of VW models, telling dealerships not to sell them. So far there hasn’t been any recalls yet, so drivers of these vehicles don’t need to do anything for the time being.
How This Affects VW and Diesel Cars as a Whole
VW has put a lot of time, effort, and money into their brand in the U.S. and into the image of their “Clean Diesel” engines. This news is a huge blow to the company’s image. Honda and Toyota, both competitors of Volkswagen, moved into the hybrid market, and VW decided to stick with their diesel approach. They claimed that these engines were clean, powerful, and fuel efficient.
Millions were spent on marketing campaigns, many of which have been torn down from the internet to help with the tarnished view of diesel in the U.S. in light of recent events. In the U.S., VW diesel cars account for 20 to 25 percent of their total sales. Without the ability to sell a single one, this could be a fatal blow to the company’s market stake in the U.S.
Then you look at diesel in general, and you see that it has never really been able to get a foothold in the passenger car market. Concerns over the number of fueling station and emissions also held them back. The VW clean diesel engines were supposed to alleviate these worries.
It’s no secret that emission standards are becoming more and more strict both here, and in Europe, with many seeking to phase out diesel entirely. The issue here and now is that a U.S. environmental lawyer could easily take this VW scandal to court and possibly get diesel outlawed entirely in the U.S.
The biggest issue here is that VW is in a very rough situation without any single person to blame. The CEO has already stepped down in the wake of the events, but that’s not enough to sweep this under the rug. Automobile scandals are nothing new, but usually there’s someone or something to point a finger at, and enough money will make it go away. This isn’t the case here.
VW has already come out and admitted that they cheated, plain and simple, but so far there’s no single engineer or employee who can fall on the proverbial sword. On top of this, there’s no simple fix for this issues. No matter how you slice it, there are going to be lawsuits, and a lot of money is going to be drained from the company.
The motivation behind this entire thing was that VW wanted to show customers improved performance and greater mileage at lower costs. Apparently though, you can make this happen without an additive or a cheat tactic which VW opted for the latter.
This is tough because Volkswagen clearly cheated, both willingly and knowingly, to get better scores on their emissions tests, and now all of the dirty laundry is hanging out to dry. We’ll have to see how this affects VW Diesel cars, but one thing is for certain: it won’t be pretty.