As with the majority of the automotive industry, I’ve been keeping up with Volkswagen’s emissions scandal like an obese child with a bowl of salad. That’s right. You may think that the whole “they cheated millions of drivers” thing intrigues everyone, but everyone’s just waiting to see what happens in the end. Will the fat boy puke up a lot of green or will the parents realize that feeding the kid a salad is a ridiculous idea? In other words, is VW planning to compensate customers for its cheating vehicles and will diesels be relevant after this predicament?
I’m sure you’ve heard of the whole thing by now, but a quick recap would be that VW put devices on their diesels that would limit the amount of harmful chemicals produced when the EPA were testing the vehicle and then turn off in the hands of actual drivers. So its vehicles produce a lot more chemicals then let on and have been doing so for quite a while. There’s a lot more information on why and what VW did elsewhere, because I want to focus on the future.
I’ve never driven a diesel, heck I’ve never even been in a diesel. But I like them. They’re almost as fuel efficient as a hybrid while being fun to drive, which is something that affordable hybrids don’t do well. So people looking for the newest and latest in technology will bat their eyes at a diesel and make their way into a hybrid. But we enthusiasts know that diesels are better on the highway, have an unmatched range and are some of the well-kept secrets out there.
This has all come to an end with VW’s inexcusable efforts to make more money.
Customers that bought a diesel from VW were looking for a car that could save them money on fuel and help save the environment. What they ended up with is a fuel-efficient vehicle that killed exotic birds in South American faster than your neighbor’s lifted truck. So if you’re looking for a vehicle that can save you money on fuel, but don’t want to downgrade to a tiny Smart Car, then there’s only one option out there: electric vehicles.
Top Gear ran a piece on Elon Musk’s thoughts with the VW scandal and the electric purist stated that the time to ditch diesel’s has come. While I think highly of diesels, I believe that Musk is right. VW knew that there were cheat devices in its vehicles and knew exactly what the devices were doing. Which makes me, and everyone else, think that VW knew a long time ago that its cars can’t keep up with hybrids—the latest technology.
VW will readjust its entire lineup of highly-paid employees, call for a major recall and, if customers are lucky, get a free tank of diesel out of this scandal. But when the polluted cloud has settled, I doubt a lot of people are going to be happy when their VW is less fuel-efficient then what they’re used to. There’s a lot that can be said about loyalty when realizing that you’ve been lied to for a number of years. But it’s up to VW customers to decide whether to stay or leave.
As far as recalls go, VW’s isn’t the worst or the largest. But it is the sleaziest and it will change the industry forever. Other automakers will either get caught under VW’s tires and be called out for its to-good-to-be true efficiency or realize that better options are out there. Who knows what’s going to happen to the leftover VWs on the road or the brand itself. If you recently bought one, you’re going to lose a lot of money, but you probably knew that. In fact, if you’re looking for something that’s fuel-efficient, good for the environment and modern, then check out Tesla’s lineup. I heard there’s a new addition that’s going to be pretty good.