VW needs to come clean and turn around its corrupt practices

October 22, 2015 — by Eric Sze

Earlier this fall, when the Environmental Protection Agency announced its finding that Volkswagen had rigged millions of diesel vehicles with software to allow them to  pass clean-air inspections, the German automaker found itself in a scandal of epic proportions.

Earlier this fall, when the Environmental Protection Agency announced its finding that Volkswagen had rigged millions of diesel vehicles with software to allow them to  pass clean-air inspections, the German automaker found itself in a scandal of epic proportions.

The consequences of the scandal are unfair for both buyers and the environment. Buyers who thought that they were buying a green car feel betrayed. The air that we breathe is being polluted more than the federal limit because Volkswagen wanted to push more cars off dealer lots.

The EPA found that since 2009, Volkswagen has been installing defeat devices in the 2.0 liter diesel engines of its popular vehicle models like Beetle, Jetta, Passat and Golf. Essentially, these defeat devices are able to recognize when the vehicles are being tested for their emissions, due to the different conditions in which vehicles are being tested.

Once the defeat device detects that the vehicle is being tested, it cuts down on engine power and efficiency to produce fewer pollutants. However, once the vehicle detects that it’s no longer in test laboratories, the defeat device will shut off and the engine will perform at higher levels, increasing fuel economy once again. As a result of this scheme, some Volkswagens release up to 40 times more pollutants than the federal limit allows for.

The biggest risk that this scandal poses is in the future of the German auto industry.

The problem lies in the roots of what Germany stands for. Germany’s auto industry is one of the country’s top priorities, and many of the vehicles produced by German automakers (Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW) are gas-guzzlers. However, times are changing, and many consumers are looking for fuel-efficient vehicles.

The shifting preference for greener cars in other countries is prevalent in the numbers themselves. As of August, the United States has a total of 363,000 registered e-cars. In comparison, Germany has a mere 25,000.

What the scandal blatantly shows is that Volkswagen isn’t ready to accept the fact that its vehicles cannot stand up to what consumers want nowadays. With gas prices on the rise, people need low-cost fuel efficient vehicles more than ever before. Volkswagen’s diesel engines are simply no match for consumer and government demands, so in order to get around them, they found a way to cheat the emission standards.

Additionally, people want vehicles that offer great value. After all, we’re living a time when they can lease a vehicle cheaply and use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

The brilliant executives who created this cheating scheme have dug a deep hole for the automaker. In essence, Volkswagen has lost the trust of consumers, and without that, they will not be able to survive in the long run.

If Volkswagen wants to remain a viable player in the auto industry, its leaders need to fix the fraudulent cars at no cost to the consumers, pay billions in damages and remake the company into a respectable, honest institution, one that doesn’t try to evade clean-air regulations but adapts to them.

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