7 Things to Know about the Volkswagen Scandal
Volkswagen has been under public scrutiny for intentionally designing millions of flawed diesel cars. If you haven’t been up to speed on your news intake, here are seven fast facts about the company’s mistake and what’s to come.
1. News breaks about VW scandal on Friday
As CNN Money reported, the company owned up to its wrong doing just last week when it announced that the issue was much larger than initially expressed by a statement from VW.
“At least 11 million cars worldwide were detected to have the same flaw.”
At least 11 million cars worldwide were detected to have the same flaw: to emit lower – harmful – levels of emissions. At first, VW only owned up to creating 500,000 vehicles with this alarming problem.
2. The flaw cheats emissions tests and harms the environment
According to BBC, some of the vehicles sold in the U.S. by the German car maker were equipped with diesel engines that could recognize when the car itself was being tested for emissions. They’d improve results, even in cars that shouldn’t pass emissions.
A second wave of bad news regarding the VW scandal surfaced: The cars with the emissions cheating devices released nitrogen oxide pollutants up to 40 times above what the U.S. allows, reported BBC.
3. VW recalls 500,000 cars
Perhaps the most important piece of information isn’t that VW created these eco-harmful vehicles, but rather the fact that the company lied about it. Reuters explained that VW recalled a batch of cars back in April, informing consumers that the vehicles were due for a software update to make sure emissions were “optimized and operating efficiently.”
The company failed to mention that skeptical government regulators were the catalyst for this sudden recall. VW stated that there was a glitch with the system, not that they willingly installed software that get through emissions testing and that violate pollution standards.
4. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn apologizes and resigns
Just days after news of the scandal spreads throughout the world, CEO Martin Winterkorn steps down. As The New York Times reported, Winterkorn acknowledged the mistakes. However, he evaded any personal responsibility for the emission’s cheating scandal.
“As CEO, I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines,” Winterkorn said in a statement, as quoted by the New York Times.
In his apology, Winterkorn acknowledged that the actions made by the company violate a level of trust, according to CNN Money.
“Millions of people all over the world trust our brands, our cars and our technology. I am deeply sorry we have broken this trust,” Winterkorn said, as quoted by CNN. “I would like to make a formal apology to our customers, to the authorities, and to the general public for this misconduct.”
5. Volkswagen is under investigation
The Wall Street Journal announced on Sept. 21 that the U.S. Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division is criminally probing VW. Additionally, the company is being investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It’s been speculated that the scandal will spark a swath of lawsuits against the company from consumers.
6. New Volkswagen CEO appointed
Just two days after Winterkorn’s resignation, VW announces that Matthias Mueller will be the new CEO of the company. The announcement was made at a press conference at VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany on Sept. 25, according to Business Insider.
“My most pressing task will be to restore confidence in the Volkswagen Group – through an unsparing investigation and maximum transparency, but also by drawing the right lessons from the current situation,” Mueller stated at the press conference.
7. Congress to hold a meeting
The Business Insider confirmed that VW is cooperating with the government. As the ramifications from this scandal continue to unravel, the next tangible step is a meeting held by Congress that’s slated to take place in the near future.