Volkswagen Crisis – Brett Michaud

You may have recently heard about some allegations with the major German automobile company, Volkswagen. To be exact, the company made quite a significant slip-up. For a while now, Volkswagen has been pushing the sale of their diesel engine vehicles. These cars have been projected by the company and testing equipment to be able to achieve superior fuel efficiency as well as reduced emissions. However, recent findings regarding these cars have proven that Volkswagen had falsely promoted them, and to a significant extent. Apparently the German company installed a device in these engines which could detect when the engine was being tested for emissions. While being tested, the car would emit a impressive minimal amount to of nitrogen oxide pollutants. But once the vehicle hit the road, this engine mode would shut off. With the device no longer controlling the engine, the emissions level rose to 40 times the amount of pollutants allowed in the U.S.


Not only did Volkswagen create a horribly eco-friendly car, but they did this willingly and deceptively to be able to promote sales throughout the world.

Volkswagen even admitted to it since the findings. “We’ve totally screwed up,” professed the company’s boss in charge for American sales. Predicted to begin recalling car models in January, the German car company is looking at some pretty alarming potential fines. It is within the EPA’s power (Environmental Protection Agency) to fine the company approximately $38,000 for each vehicle breaching the standard. Estimating the amount of cars affected, the potential full fine could reach a staggering 18 billion dollars.


The posing question is, why would they do something so deceptive? Money, of course. With eco-friendly cars in such a high demand, having the best model to sell would yield the most profit. The company’s goal was to make money, not authentic and reliable commodities. Appeal to the consumer by whatever means to sell as much merchandise as possible. This isn’t something unheard of, especially in the automobile business. Through the mid-twentieth century, General Motors began to make drastic model changes each year for their cars. This drove consumerism to skyrocket as U.S. citizens began to crave the newest and trendiest models, eagerly accepting the advertisements for the latest merchandise. It’s too bad companies should resort to this method, especially at the cost of lying to their customers and in turn facing the consequences for their actions, just to be able to make money. Consumerism is taken advantage of by these companies as well as their customers. The future for Volkswagen could be pretty bleak as the numbers continue to stack up. Not only in the U.S. were these deceptions found, but throughout Europe as well. With more allegations accumulating, other countries are looking into further testing as well for the German cars. There no telling how bad this will be for the company as time rolls on. They hope to right their wrongs and hopefully re-install themselves as a reliable motor company. “My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen group – by leaving no stone unturned,” stated the company’s new chief executive, Matthias Mueller. Hopefully they have duly taken note of their wrongs, and that other companies have taken notice too, that it won’t pay to falsely advertise.


This website offered an overall description of the whole crisis.

The second website offered financial information regarding the company.


4 thoughts on “Volkswagen Crisis – Brett Michaud

  1. mlongbi101anselm

    Crazy how we now know all this info regarding the effect of emissions and people would still go to such measures to make a dollar. Sanctions do appear to be high, and could potentially threaten the future of the VW brand. Just goes to show, buy America made.

  2. earthhist Post author

    Very interesting article! I particularly liked the photo with Pinocchio in it. I liked your connection to the book– how even when the vehicle industry was just starting out, companies would promote consumerism by manipulating customer interests. It was very interesting to read how much more intense and immoral companies’ methods have become.

  3. Matt Sargent

    Sad to see companies care more about their profit than the health of the world they’re living in. As someone who has always liked VW cars and wanted to buy one in the future I’m especially grateful for seeing this blog! Great job relating it to Down to Earth and your use of pictures, especially the first one, was also very informative!

  4. Joe Bobek Post author

    Everyone is stunned and in disbelief of VW’s actions.

    Because vehicle emission limits are much stricter in the USA than in Europe, VW apparently had two options: 1.) Comply with regulations by fitting an urea injector to its volume cars, raising their price, reducing their vehicles’ performance, and lowering their fuel economy. 2.) Design software to cheat U.S. emissions tests and emit far more NOx than what is legal.

    It’s almost unbelievable that they presumed this wouldn’t come back to bite them in the ass.

    You’re absolutely right, the ramifications of choosing option 2 will reverberate for a very long time. Costing VW tens of billions of dollars and wrecking their reputation. You’re post was brilliantly written. Splendid read 🙂


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