You’ve probably heard by now that Volkswagen is in boiling water. It seems that updated stories emerge daily regarding the recent emissions scandal by the German car company. So, what exactly did Volkswagen do, and how did they get away with it? An article from The New York Times explains what happened and includes several illustrations for clarity.
In September, the EPA discovered that many Volkswagen vehicles sold in the United States were manufactured to include what is being called a “defeat device.” Per BBC, this device can detect when the vehicle is being tested and changes the vehicle’s performance to improve results. During regular driving, however, the device is turned off, which increases emissions well above the legal limits. Since this time, Volkswagen has admitted that 11 million vehicles were furnished with this device. That’s right – 11 million vehicles fitted with a device that cheats United States emissions tests.
The New York Times article details that researchers at West Virginia University (WVU) performed on-road testing in May of 2014, testing emissions from two models that were fitted with 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engines. The WVU researchers found that the cars emitted almost 40 times the permitted levels of nitrogen oxides, a pollutant that can cause emphysema, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases. This research led to investigation by the California Air Resources Board.
US consumers may be waiting in excess of one year to receive remedial treatment for their vehicle. In the interim, Volkswagen indicated that the company would offer up to $1,000 to owners of diesel cars in the United States.
According to a Bloomberg News article released on February 25th, 2016, United States District Judge Charles Breyer gave VW one month to form a plan to fix the remaining 600,000 automobiles affected by the emissions scandal. Judge Breyer’s order is that Volkswagen must bring forth an answer prior to its March 24th court date.
…And if they have no viable solution at that time? Well, lead plaintiff’s attorney Elizbaeth Cabraser thinks that the vehicles which aren’t fixed will need to be removed from the road. Further, Cabraser advocates that consumers should receive buybacks for those vehicles.
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