Last year, you couldn’t get away from car companies that were experiencing some serious scandals. First, it was Honda with the airbags, then Mitsubishi took a turn with their emissions issues, and then, by far, the heavy hitter, Volkswagen emerged with a scandal of their own. For Honda, the airbag issues are far from over and they’ve posted serious losses as they seek to make reparations for people harmed by the airbags and to fix those airbags that have yet to deploy. Mitsubishi’s fate was questionable as they didn’t have the same type of financial backing as the big name guys. Volkswagen’s scandal caused some pretty serious backlash for the German automaker.
Unless you spent the past couple of years under a carefully placed rock, you’ve probably heard something about the VW scandal. To make a long story short, VW was found to have cheated on several different emissions tests for their diesel engines, thus making claims that they were a great deal more efficient than they actually are. Not only that, but their diesel engines were pumping out an insane number of toxins into the atmosphere, you know, like the United States needs more air quality issues.
Volkswagen was apologetic and offered to make the necessary fixes to the numerous vehicles that were affected, but their admission of guilt did not come without consequences. Due to the recalls and the amount that VW was forced to pay out for their mistake, they lost over eighteen billion dollars this year. Even for a top name automaker, that is quite a sizable loss of money. Volkswagen rode out their scandal and made a solid effort to hide from the press for a while this summer, but their issues didn’t go away completely.
For the first time, in a long time, Volkswagen posted a loss for the year. In 2015, they posted profits over ten billion dollars, this year they’ve lost an estimated twenty percent of their revenue. Of course, they’ve paid dearly for their mistake, but have they paid enough? A stunning number of cars were impacted by their scandalous behavior, and people are still reeling with the lack of choices they have when it comes to their vehicles. Volkswagen took a major financial hit, and they say their reputation has been damaged tremendously, but people are still buying their cars here in the United States.
Certainly, there are people who’ve taken the purchase of a Volkswagen vehicle off their possible shopping list for their new car, but people ARE still buying them, and they’ll likely post a profit again soon. So, have they paid deeply enough? It seems as though they took a slap on the wrist, walked away with their tails between their legs, and were back at it in six months. For the people whose cars were affected by the scandal, they’ve been left with terrible choices, as their cars don’t have the value they would if this hadn’t happened, and if they keep the vehicles, they’ll have issues selling in the future.
Volkswagen claims their number one priority post-scandal is to increase their standing with the public again. They want to be back in favorable eyes, but we have to question if they really deserve that right away. They, knowingly, messed with their engines to make them seem better than they were, all the while allowing them to pump out a lot more in terms of emissions than was previously thought. They didn’t just mess with the people who were fleeced into owning these diesel engine vehicles; they messed with all of us.
Perhaps VW is being judged too harshly, but they shouldn’t just get away with this type of behavior simply because they had the money to remedy the situation. Sure, they lost a great deal of money, but is that figure comparable to what their loyal customers lost? While Volkswagen shouldn’t have to be raked over the coals for the next millennia, they should have to suffer more consequences than losing some customers and paying a fine.
Whether or not Volkswagen has been apologetic, deeply so, is it enough? Are people shying away from purchasing their vehicles this year, with full intentions of going back to their brand within the next? If you can say anything about Volkswagen lovers, they’re loyal, but was the manufacturer thinking of this loyalty when they did what they did?