Recently, Volkswagen was found guilty of equipping many of their newest
vehicles with a “defeat device” designed to enable these cars
to pass emissions tests. Why is this a bad thing? A recent study proved
that many of the vehicles that have passed emissions tests only pass when
the vehicle is operating in test mode. However, under normal driving conditions,
many of these vehicles emit up to 40 times more pollution than allowed
under federal standards. The United States Environmental Protection Agency
has taken immediate action.
Research shows that nearly 500,000 Volkswagen diesel-power vehicles were
programmed with these devices. This specially designed software is installed
into the small computers, which recognizes that the vehicle is not operating
under normal driving conditions. Instead, the computer realizes that the
vehicle is functioning under a test mode and knows that the front wheels
are spinning but the car is not moving. Additional software allows the
computer to recognize when a car is operating under test mode conditions.
Shortly after the company was found guilty, the CEO of Volkswagen apologized
and submitted his resignation in hopes of gaining back the trust of consumers.
However, Volkswagen suffered an enormous crash in stock prices. The company
has set aside 6.5 billion euros, equivalent to $7.3 billion, to cover
the expense of recalls and other efforts designed to limit the amount
of damages. Volkswagen may potentially be charged with significant fines
in the form of civil and criminal penalties for their dishonest and unfair conduct.
Currently, Volkswagen is in the process of recalling all vehicles that
have these defeat devices installed.
Volkswagen Reveals Truths About Other Vehicles
As the crisis unfolded, Volkswagen disclosed information which stated that
over 11 million diesel vehicles fall into the emission discrepancy category,
as well. In fact, more recent European tests suggested that a newer BMW
diesel model has failed to meet European emission standards. Reports show
that the X3 model produced over 11 times the amount of nitrous oxides
permitted under European standards. Similar to Volkswagen, BMW’s
stock prices decreased by more than seven percent shortly after.
As a result, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency stated
that the examination of the scandal will extend to other United States
and European manufacturers that design high-performance diesel-engine vehicles.