How a dusty government agency defeated a big bad company.
Image via Wikimedia
Last Friday, Volkswagen woke the world up with news of a surging scandal: the company revealed it had sold 500,000 cars with specialty diesel engines, designed to skirt “pesky” American emission standards (there to prevent “pesky” climate catastrophe). Predictions for the company were dire, but not apocalyptic. This Tuesday, however, Volkswagen disclosed that they had “accidentally” lied, yet again. It wasn’t 500,000 cars they’d have to recall, it was err—umm—11 million.
Currently, Volkswagen has offered $7.3 billion dollars to help cover the costs of a crisis. But that’s a sentimental pittance for a company whose stock sunk by about 20%, this Tuesday alone. According to The New York Times, Volkswagen only revealed its duplicitousness after being “discovered” by the Environmental Protection Agency: “VW made the admission only when the Environmental Protection Agency took the extraordinary action of threatening to withhold approval for the company’s 2016 Volkswagen and Audi diesel models, according to letters sent to company officials by the E.P.A. and California regulators.”
Image via Wikimedia
For all of Volkswagen’s now painful attempts at transparency (“Manipulation and Volkswagen—this must never happen again,” Martin Winterkorn, Chief Executive, said in a video statement), it’s unclear how the company will survive the rapidly mutating crisis. The cars involved produced as much as 40 times the allowed amount of nitrogen oxide, putting consumers at risk of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. Several lawsuits have already begun, and others are on their way.
If there’s one thing consumers can learn from this shockingly toxic episode, it’s the “good guys” seeking to catch the “bad guys” didn’t come from market forces. They were from traditional “bloated” government agencies like the EPA, the ones our current Republican candidates can’t wait to defund, then destroy.
(Via: The New York Times)