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VW Diesel Woes Continues to Mount

Photo: Volkswagen (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If one thought that the controversy with Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal was nearing a conclusion, news from Germany suggests the issue is far from settled.

German public prosecutors announced they are looking at how Volkswagen AG went about telling investors about the diesel emissions scandal. According to reports, the prosecutors are investigating the possibility of market manipulation by the company as the crisis unfolded, and if Volkswagen followed disclosure rules when it went public about the emissions manipulation.

This is adding to the woes of Volkswagen as it tries to get out from under the scandal.

Since the company’s admission of using software to make its diesel vehicles pass emissions tests, pressure has been mounting on the company to both fix the vehicles and to compensate owners who purchased them.

In Canada, owners and those who have leased 3.0L V6 TDI vehicles that are affected by the emissions issue are eligible for the Owner Credit Package which consists of:

1. $500 for use at your VW Dealership,

2. a further $500 for use at your VW Dealership or anywhere credit cards are accepted and;

3. No-Charge 24-Hour Roadside Assistance for three years, with unlimited mileage.

Registration for the package is open until July 5, 2016.

I’ve talked to several owners of Volkswagen diesel vehicles and many tell me they not happy with the compensation package being offered right now. They would prefer to be compensated for the cost of the vehicle at the time of purchase or to have the vehicle replaced.

Their reasoning is that they purchased these diesel vehicles because the new diesel engine technology offered improved fuel efficiency without any impact to engine performance, and that it was ‘clean’ as well. Traditionally, diesel engine cars in North America have had a poor reputation. Diesel engines burned dirtier than their gasoline cousins and were underwhelming when it came to performance. ‘Clean’ diesel technology was said to overcome all that. Now one could get a diesel car that performed just as well as a gasoline powered vehicle and the added benefit of an engine that got excellent mileage and met today’s stringent CAFE standards for emissions. No more belching black smoke and polluting the environment.

The scandal threw all that out the window, or blew it out of the tailpipe. Currently, there is no fix to the problem. It may be a software upgrade or more likely it will be a combination of software and some kind of engine modification, if one is possible, to fix the issue so that the vehicles can properly meet all emissions regulations.

Regardless, many of the owners I have spoken with now say that whatever fix is offered, they believe their vehicles are now worthless. No one will buy them if they try to sell them, or they could only be sold at a substantial loss. And if a solution is found, it will likely impact both performance and mileage, key selling points for many who purchased or leased these vehicles, along with them being ‘clean.’

What is certain, is that this scandal has both damaged Volkswagen reputation and ended any future talk of ‘clean’ diesel car technology as well.

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