It is truism, that if something is too good to be true then it is not. Volkswagen (VW) shocking admissions over the past 2 weeks, illustrates that point clearly. VW has pushed hard over the past 10 years to become the world’s largest automobile manufacturer and it has achieved that landmark by appealing to the masses.
One target they have tried to corner were the environmentally conscious drivers and they created a vehicle that would appeal to their sensibilities. The diesel powered vehicles were a new segment and that involved an old technology repackaged into a concept that was fun to drive, economical with miles per gallon and deliver a “feel good” feeling to the consumers because it touted extremely clean car emissions.
Well, the green pristine image came crashing down over the past several weeks when under investigation by the U.S. EPA and car engineers, the data did not connect with real life findings, that the diesel cars’ emission data were based on a huge hoax perpetrated on 11 million consumer worldwide and 500,000 in the U.S.
How Did VW Con The Consumers?
VW knew that its line of diesel cars would get a “F” in any emission testing, so they devised a clever plan to circumvent the emission testing. The company installed so-called “defeat device” software in over 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide. The affected vehicles include various model years, ranging from 2009 to 2015, of Volkswagen Jettas, Golfs, Passats, Beetles and the Audi A3.
According to a Notice of Violation (NOV) issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the “defeat device” software allows these vehicles to release “safe” emissions when undergoing tests, but release nitrogen oxides at up to 40 times the legal amount during normal operations.
The con was discovered accidentally during a research project by university engineers, who were testing various diesel cars to determine the emissions. They got conflicting data, then they approached the California EPA, which found similar results. After several months of playing dodge ball with VW engineers, the whole scheme unraveled and the cat was out of the bag.
Texas VW Diesel Drivers Fuming
According to Reuters, a Texas county sued Volkswagen AG in state court, accusing the German carmaker of violating state environmental laws by installing software on some of its diesel vehicles to circumvent emissions tests. The lawsuit filed by Harris County, which includes Houston, seeks up to $25,000 per violation per day.
“Volkswagen’s deceptive acts have undermined Harris County’s efforts to improve air quality, reach attainment status, and protect our citizens,” said the lawsuit filed in the District Court of Harris County, Texas.
Many lawsuits against Volkswagen claim that the drivers have been defrauded by “clean” diesel claims. Harris County’s lawsuit is one of the first to claim environmental harm caused by the emissions ruse.
American Lung Association Statement
The American Lung Association recently urged the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency to force Volkswagen to take actions to offset all of the excess emissions released by the vehicles it tampered with.
Nitrogen oxide contributes to ozone formation, which can cause health problems such as chest pain and coughing, and can worsen bronchitis and asthma, Harris County said in its lawsuit.
The county estimated that beginning with the 2009 model year through the end of August 2015, Volkswagen sold more than 6,000 of the manipulated emissions vehicles within the county’s borders. As its investigation of the matter continues, the county said it expects that estimate to increase.
VW Dealers To Bear The Brunt Of Consumer Anger
“The recent events unfolding globally regarding the diesel scandal has hit the dealers in the U.S. extremely hard,” said Alan Brown, who is chairman of the Volkswagen National Dealer Advisory Council and runs two Volkswagen dealerships in Texas. “We have been suffering from an outdated product cycle, overpriced product and a deteriorating relationship between the dealer body and Volkswagen for a number of years.”
Unfortunately dealers and consumers have been left holding the bag, dealers must manage the expectations of angry car owners harmed by Volkswagen’s deception while engineers at the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, figure out how to fix the diesel cars so they comply with emissions standards while still retaining performance and fuel economy.
Shezad Malik is an Internal Medicine and Cardiology specialist, a Texas Medical Doctor (retired) and Defective Medical Device and Dangerous Drug Attorney. Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm has offices based in Fort Worth and Dallas and represents people who have suffered catastrophic and serious personal injuries including wrongful death, caused by the negligence or recklessness of others.