“Who’s going to know?” That was probably what the Volkswagen engineers said when they tried to pull a fast one with their software programming. Apparently, as much as 11 million Volkswagen diesel cars were outfitted with a software program that allowed the cars to pass an emissions test when in reality they were dumping CO2 at an alarming rate.
This wasn’t some minor glitch, but a carefully orchestrated plan to sell more cars. Of course, the owners thought they were doing their part and reducing their carbon footprint. Turns outs that footprint just went from a kiddie shoe to a pair of Shaq sneakers. In an effort to make nice, Volkswagen is offering owners a lovely consolation prize in the form of a goodwill package worth $1,000. One minor hiccup with the package: It does zippo for the emissions problem.
You’re Stuck With the Fumes
Suppose you’re one of those lucky owners of a Volkswagen diesel lemon. Now if you try to pass a smog test, it’s not going to happen. That means you can’t get your registration. No registration means no registration sticker. Bring on the parking tickets. Volkswagen is working on a fix, but that could mean recalling all those cars and replacing the software and the entire emissions package. Suddenly, that recall to fix a power window switch isn’t looking so bad.
By the way, once it does make the fix, the mileage on those cars is going to skyrocket. All that money drivers thought they were saving on diesel? Gone.
What’s in the Goodwill Package?
At first glance, you might think, “Hey, having an extra thousand in my pocket is cool. Plus, they’re going to get around to fixing the car, right?” Well, that thousand is actually a $500 Visa debit card that you can spend on whatever strikes your fancy. The other $500 is for vouchers you can use only at a Volkswagen dealership.
Another deal that’s out there is for current Volkswagen owners to get $2,000 on a trade-in. Of course, that means they would have to buy a new Volkswagen. That’s kind of like Chipotle handing out burrito gift certificates to all the people they recently poisoned. You think any one of those folks is ever going to eat at a Chipotle again?
How Bad Is Bad?
So just how bad are the Volkswagen emissions? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, those bum cars could be spewing as much as 40 times the legal limits. That means all those times you rode a bus to work or walked the extra mile to the grocery store just to help the environment is now meaningless. Those Volkswagens have been polluting the air all along.
Bring on the Lawyers
The only bright side in all this would be if you are one of the many lawyers who will be filing class-action lawsuits. So far, there have been 200 filed in the U.S. alone. Considering how the company has practically admitted guilt, it will be paying through the nose. Better grab that $1,000 while you can!