Photo courtesy of Carthrottle.com
By Nolan Sheow
United States regulators recently uncovered one of the biggest car scandals of the 21st century, staining the reputation of the world’s biggest car maker.
Volkswagen, the company that owns both Audi and Porsche, was caught cheating on United States environmental standards through software installed on Volkswagen diesel cars that allowed them to recognize when they were under an emissions test.
During emissions testing, the car would turn on emission controls, giving the impression that they were clean air vehicles. Once the test was passed, the emission controls would turn off, and the car would return to polluting the air.
Volkswagen diesel cars have been giving off 10 to 40 times more nitrogen oxide, a toxic chemical linked to asthma and other health problems, than is allowed by federal regulations.
Nearly half a million cars on American roads have this software, and 11 million cars around the world have been manipulated, according to Volkswagen. Models that have been affected include the 2009-2015 models of the Beetle, Jetta, and Golf.
The scandal will cost Volkswagen at least 18 billion dollars in fines, and the number is continually growing. Nearly one fourth of the entire company’s stock went down the drain in the first week alone. Powerful shareholders, such as the Porsche family, Qatar, and Lower Saxony, face massive losses.
Amid the crisis, CEO Martin Winterkorn has resigned from office, putting the head of Porsche, Matthias Mueller, in charge. After investigation, Winterkorn was found innocent by German authorities, extending the investigation deeper into Volkswagen’s employees to find who is actually responsible for this violation.
The damage done to Volkswagen’s reputation is unrepairable. The city of Houston alone is sueing Volkswagen for 100 million dollars, claiming that the toxic chemicals emitted from the diesel vehicles is damaging the city’s air quality.
Critics claim that Volkswagen may never recover from the crisis, but many loyal customers still hold hope. Despite the 76% drop in stocks, Volkswagen’s grasp on car sales may never disappear completely. But one thing is sure: Volkswagen’s reputation as a trustworthy car manufacturer is all but lost.
Information for this report was taken from cnn.com
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