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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Volkswagen Scandal



The current issue with Volkswagen is personally extremely disturbing to me. Those who know me from here and the other social media know that I used to have a classic 1972 VW Bus. However, it actually goes much further than that. Over the years I’ve owned five VW’s and always had a soft spot for the brand. In addition, most of my professional career was with Audi franchises (a VW product) and even more so, with Porsche. It should be stated that when I was with Porsche, it was while the Porsche family owned the firm. A couple of years ago, they joined the VW Corporation. I have not been with them during this period.

The issue is very deep and complex. Having been in the automobile business all my life, when I heard on the news “The EPA has notified Volkswagen that there might be an issue with their emission controls falsifying read outs….” I knew this was a very serious issue. The next day the head of Volkswagen AG, the largest automobile company in the world, admitted the problem.

Here’s where it gets very, very serious. All car companies have defective issues at one point or another. When this happens, they have a recall and take care of it. It always is a chink in their armor, but they take care of it and get on with life.

With VW, what we have is the corporation purposely going out of their way to deceive and cheat a pollution system. In other words, they did this with the specific intent of deception.

 That in itself is the root of the problem. It's a matter of trust.

Having worked in dealerships for decades, there is not one bit of doubt whatsoever in my mind that technicians in dealerships have known about this. Do I blame them? Of course not! Some guy goes and blows a whistle and every VW/Audi technician in the world is out of a job. I can see it now. A tech walks up to a service adviser, or maybe a parts counter, and whispers quietly and out of the corner of his mouth “Hey! I just was checking this Jetta diesel and another on a Golf Diesel yesterday and there’s something that’s not right with these things”. 

Keep in mind that this guy has a house, wife, and three kids he supports. He has bills due at the end of the month and has this suddenly looking at him in the face and through no choice of his own, casts him as an accessory. When the factory rep stops by the next week, you know he’ll ask him about it. The rep will in turn contact the factory on it and the factory says “It’s okay, don’t worry about it”. That technician has been put in a corner with a gun to his head and who is holding the gun? The people he trusted. Those who trained him. People he envisioned were his family away from home.Volkswagen AG.

I can't say this happened via direct experience. I'm convinced it happened because I know technicians and I know the business. 

The Diesel emission deception has been going on since 2007, I understand.
The supplier of their emission computers, Bosch, also sent VW a memo about this years ago.

Volkswagen has thousands and thousands of good people working for them, as well as in franchises worldwide. People who work on the assembly lines, those who design the cars, those who work in the cafeteria at the factory, the test drivers, truck transportation drivers, all dealership employees, parts people, technicians, sales professionals, all of the support staff…. The lists go on and on.

Make no doubt about this. The situation is not potentially catastrophic.  It is Catastrophic.

Those who purposely implemented and approved the deception systems, also neglected and jeopardized all of the good, devoted Volkswagen employees, hundreds of thousands worldwide, within the entirety of their system and tarnished the firm. 

Those people need to face legal justice in a court of law. 

As of a few days ago, the head of Porsche, Matthias Mueller, has been appointed CEO of Volkswagen AG. I don't envy the man. 

While I'm not entirely familiar with his record at Porsche, this is perhaps the best option VW has. Porsche never made a diesel vehicle, so there's a clean slate there.

On the flip side, Volkswagen stock has fallen as much as 40%. There could be an excellent option for a company such as Fiat, who is looking for a large partner to merge with, or perhaps Mercedes-Benz, to buy the company. 

Having a new owner may well be the best way to save face.


1 comment:

  1. Definitely Volkswagen has betrayed the trust of so many of its users. They should do something different to restore their brand value live science