In 2014 researchers at West Virginia University discovered a software in Volkswagon automobiles that could distinguish between when the car was being tested from when it was not. When in test mode, the automobiles preformed up to 40 times better on emissions tests than normal. In 2015 the EPA did a study and announced that Volkswagon had cheated on emissions tests, the company immediately conceded that they had rigged 500,000 vehicles to bypass emission laws. It came to light that the cheating software had been implemented worldwide in 11 million cars all over the world. VW stock plummeted, CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned, and they were forced to recall defective vehicles. Lawsuits piled up from people whose cars had lost value due to the software. In October of 2015 Volkswagon offices in Germany, Italy, and France were raided by police in search of incriminating documents. VW set up a fund to compensate people for lost car value, and agreed to fix or buy back 500,000 cars in the US. In total, the scandal cost Volkswagon about $18 billion. Although the company says that senior executives knew nothing about the software, several more resignations occurred. The emissions scandal was a direct violation of the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act signed into law by Lyndon Johnson in 1963 is meant to reduce emissions on a national level. One executive was recently arrested for conspiring to defraud customers, impede regulators, and violating the Clean Air Act.
Volkswagen is in the process of buying back my sister’s defective car right now and my mom has had to fill out so much paperwork for it, but I’m glad they’re getting the car (and the other 500,000) off the roads to help cutback on emissions.
Wow, that sounds like such a hassle! I’m also glad they’re finally getting the cars off roads though.