Manufacturer under scrutiny after falsifying test results
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
Automotive manufacturer Volkswagen is facing major repercussions after evidence was released that revealed the manufacturer had falsified results on their emissions tests.
Between 2009 and 2015, Volkswagen implanted devices that would purposely restrict the amount of emission that the vehicles would produce during emissions testing. However, these devices would deactivate when the vehicle was under normal use, and thus having the vehicles produce more emissions than what would be shown on paper.
The fraud was discovered by a group of researchers at West Virginia University who were writing a journal article on clean diesel vehicles. Part of the research involved driving these vehicles in order to collect data. The researchers then found that the Volkswagen vehicles they tested produced 35 times the amount of the emission levels than expected.
Since the discrepancies have been made public, Volkswagen has been scrambling to find an alternative to being forced to recall up to 11 million of their vehicles, such as Golf, Jetta, and Beetle models released since 2009.
Volkswagen has lost more than 30 per cent of its stock since the controversy, and continues to drop. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may fine the manufacturer up to $18 billion, and is working with Environment Canada to take similar actions north of the border. Meanwhile, as the number of federal lawsuits towards Volkswagen grows into the hundreds, the company has already put aside $7.3 billion to handle legal costs and reparation. Lawsuits have also began to arise in other countries, including Canada.
Martin Wintercorn, CEO of Volkswagen, resigned after news of the scandal broke. In a statement released by Volkswagen, Wintercorn said, “…I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines… I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part.”
Speculations made by The Wall Street Journalsuggest that Wintercorn may receive up to $66.9 million in severance pay. Wintercorn will be replaced by Matthias Müller.
Volkswagen Canada announced on September 21 that they would be pulling Volkswagen vehicles off of the market.
“We have issued, as of today, a stop-sale order to our dealers in Canada for all the affected vehicles. That’s pending resolution of this matter,” Thomas Tetzlaff, a spokesperson for Volkswagen Canada, told the Toronto Star. “We’re working with our colleagues in the U.S. and Germany to develop a solution for this.”