Volkwagen Playing Dirty with Clean Diesel Emissions Scandal: 18 Billion in Potential Fines
Volkswagen Group has a lot of cleaning up to do after EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) accused them of cheating on emissions tests. The EPA claims that certain diesel-powered VW and Audi models are equipped with software that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. The same notice was issued by California’s Air Resources Board as well.
Basically, what they are saying is that the software included in these vehicles can detect when an emissions test is being done and changes the engine settings temporarily so that the car will pass. Otherwise, the rest of the time, the exhaust is pumping out emissions beyond what is allowed under U.S. law.
The penalty? They can be fined up to $37,500 per car. Pretty much the starting price for you to own one of these Audi vehicles equipped with a diesel engine featuring it’s “stealth pollution” mode. With an estimated 482,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. containing this software, VW is looking at a potential fine of over $18 billion. On top of it, the government distributed about $51 million dollars in green car subsidies to the car buyers back in 2009 that they may be looking for a refund for since money was paid out for cars that were actually making our air much dirtier, instead of cleaner. And that’s just in the U.S. Globally, we’re looking at more than 11 million affected vehicles.
The Justice Department has already started criminal investigations halting sales and looking not only into more Volkswagen and Audi models but Porsche as well. Volkswagen has already come clean, so to speak about their dirty emissions scandal, admitting they were wrong. According to a statement by EPA, a software algorithm on specific Volkswagen vehicles can tell when a car is undergoing an official emissions test and turns off full emissions controls only during the test. But the 99.9% of the time the engine is running around normally, it is pumping out 40 times the standard of nitrogen oxide, further adding to the world’s smog problems. So much for “clean diesel”.
It is reported by the EPA that 2009 and newer WV and Audi models equipped with the 2.0-liter TDI diesel four-cylinder contain the software cheating emissions tests. These include VW Jettas, Beetles, Golfs, and Passats, as well as the Audi A3. As you can imagine, sales of these cars have been stopped, to avoid further penalty due to their contributions to the United State’s smog and air pollution problems.
As you can imagine, this news has greatly impacted the Volkswagen Group’s stock, with about an 18% plummet in European trading after the EPA issued their “Notice of Violation” against the company. This, along with facing billions of dollars in fines will definitely put a dent in the reputation and value of the company.
As for Volkswagen, we shake our heads. Granted people will still have faith in the German craftsmanship of these brands and the cars they produce, but as far as damaging their political reputation and trust in the public eye, this is a major kick in the face as they’ve strongly pedaled their “Clean Diesel” and it’s superior performance to green and environmentally conscious consumers everywhere. These particular car owners were very proud of their TDI engines, owning a car with improved environmental standards only to be recalled for the massive pollution they are causing, with no suitable alternative. They face an additional global struggle as other countries are demanding answers and explanations to what they’ve done to cheat the system in order to sell these vehicles.
The global automotive leader faces a long road and devastating fines and investigation from all across the world that will surely cripple the company long term having already lost about 1/3rd of it’s value in a 7 billion dollar bankroll to begin covering costs of the recalls as well as the unbelievable stock plummet… and to that we say “Volkswagen, clean up your emissions, and your act! What were you thinking?” Building an entire global campaign around a product you call "clean deisel" that is acutally producing up to 40 times more emissions than the U.S. standard? That no one would ever look into the technolgy, and you would go under the emissions radar? We're very disappointed.