Volkswagen in Hot Water with Dieselgate

Photo: Diesel Dig
Photo: Diesel Dig

Over the weekend, the Environmental Protection Agency accused Volkswagen of cheating on their emissions tests with almost half a million TDI diesel vehicles. The EPA issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG. Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America. The EPA said that Volkswagen used software or a ‘defeat device’ to dupe emissions testing for certain air pollutants. “Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.“Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.” With TDI diesel engines being Volkswagen’s most sought after engine option, this definitely puts a black cloud over VW’s reputation.

Affected diesel models include:
· Jetta (MY 2009 – 2015)
· Jetta Sportwagen (MY 2009-2014)
· Beetle (MY 2012 – 2015)
· Beetle Convertible (MY 2012-2015)
· Audi A3 (MY 2010 – 2015)
· Golf (MY 2010 – 2015)
· Golf Sportwagen (MY 2015)
· Passat (MY 2012-2015)

Amid the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn released a video apology addressing the situation. In the video, he asks consumers to trust Volkswagen on their journey and are “working intensively on the necessary solutions” and states “we will do everything possible to prevent harm to our customers and employees.”

Shortly after Winterkorn’s apology video the CEO stepped down from his position. Even though he claimed that he was “not aware of any wrongdoing”  Winterkorn believed that “Volkswagen needed a fresh start.”

Martin Winterkorn released this statement:

“I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.As CEO, I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part.

Volkswagen needs a fresh start – also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.I have always been driven by my desire to serve this company, especially our customers and employees. Volkswagen has been, is and will always be my life.The process of clarification and transparency must continue. This is the only way to win back trust. I am convinced that the Volkswagen Group and its team will overcome this grave crisis.”

Although Volkswagen assures that this is a quick fix and nothing besides the “defeat device” is compromised, it’s hard not think about what the next diesel engines following this scandal will actually look like. To many in the market for a new TDI, this news may deter them from purchasing a VW diesel at this time. However, with not knowing how the future TDI’s will be, this may be the best time to grab a TDI Jetta or Golf. Prices will almost be certainly affected by this bad PR and rightfully so, but with the market changing so drastically it may be time to hold onto one of these and wait it out.

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