In case you’ve missed it, possibly by dwelling under a rock or preferring pig-related scandals, we’ve rounded up the story so far concerning car giant Volkswagen
So what have VW done?
Well, it seems our pals at VW’s American HQ haven’t been very honest with us regarding emissions tests. Dubbed the “defeat device” VW admitted that over 11 million of their cars worldwide are fitted with a clever bit of kit that has helped them cheat emissions tests and enter the lucrative low-emission car market. The device cleverly detects when the car is being tested, making the car seemingly more efficient when it needed to be.
The US Environmental Protection Agency found that 482,000 VW diesel cars (including Audis, Passats, Jettas, Beetles and Golfs) emit 40 times more toxic fumes than is legal on US roads. This had been going on since around 2009
How have VW responded?
Unsurprisingly, VW America boss Michael Horn came clean. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves when he said “We have totally screwed up”. VW set about recalling 500k cars in the US, and ring-fenced a budget to cover the costs (a mammoth £4.7 billion). Shortly after, Chief Exec Martin Winterkorn resigned with his multi-million Euro pension pay out in tow. Whilst diesel VW owners reached for their lawyers telephone numbers, pressure is put on the UK government to hold an emissions enquiry when Parliament returns in October. Meanwhile, Porsche’s Matthias Müller was unveiled as the new Chief Executive amid suspensions of “a small group of staff” at VW.
What are the long-term implications for the brand?
The share prices aren’t looking too hot at the moment. One third of the value of VW has disappeared this week already, and is set to drop even more. Switzerland has introduced a temporary ban on the sale of VW diesel-engine cars that have been named as “at risk” of contained the “defeat device”. In short, it’s not looking good for them, and it’s going to take one heck of a goodwill gesture to satisfy the car-owners, environmental trailblazers, and business people who have invested in them.