The VW Beetle became a symbol of students, counterculture and nascent Yuppies. The Thing. The Carmen Ghia. The Rabbit. The New Beetle.
FWD Rabbits could deal with U.P. winters and hundreds flocked the 100+ miles from Houghton to Marquette MI to buy one.
Diesel Rabbits could get 50 mpg. FIFTY. Both car and pickup truck.
I daresay the Rabbit proved to a skeptical American public that there would be life with cars after the oil embargoes and CAFE standards. And a whole lotta economy cars which came out, looked vaguely like the Rabbit/Golf. And then they went and put a trunk on it.
The White Plains PD had Fuzz Bugs, Beetles with lights and so much gear they topped out at 45 mph. And the Greensboro NC PD had the Fuzz Bunnies -- preliminary versions of the Wulfsburg/GTI Rabbit/Golf -- which could run down cars at over 140 mph.
And now this... It's not a scandal, it is fraud. I am not sure how VW can survive this.
-- They rigged their diesel cars for years to disable the antipollution gear, except during emissions testing.
-- They dumped NO2 and other gasses into the air at up to forty times the maximum rate.
-- 11 million vehicles in the U.S.? Exactly how are they going to "fix" these? And when they do...
-- The lawsuits for not delivering the performance they were sold, particularly when their VWs run with less pep after they are "fixed", are going to be legendary.
-- Their stock, valued at $80B last week, slid by 33%, though they are "only" down 29% now.
-- And Europe is even more invested in clean diesel. It took until Monday before I heard that France and Germany are investigating, too.
How many people knew about this? I mean, I usually go around and blame corporate stupidity on the middle managers, trying to justify their existence. And aceing the pollution tests while delivering performance the rest of the time? It's a dream come true. But this dates back far enough, those turkeys may actually be gone from the company.
And then there's the testing bit. How do the cars know they are being tested? Do you have to plug into the car's computer? Do you flip a switch? Do you only allow the testing to be done at authorized VW and Audi dealers? In which case, how many of them are in the scam?
Make no mistake about this. This is not an accident. This is not a design flaw. This is not an error which couldn't be factored in because the cars are lasting beyond their expected lifetime. Nope. This is deliberately trying to game the system.
Who is going to trust VW/Audi again? Who is going to paint suspicion on ALL diesel manufacturers? Hint: it's already happening. I've heard twice about people wondering if BMW diesels are crooked, too, or even as far as "of course they are crooked." If I was BMW, I'd sue VW.
I'm old enough to remember the early Mercedes diesel cars from the 60s and 70s. They were sooty, to be sure, but Mercedes was working on them. And in the early 70s they actively campaigned to get diesel pumps put in car gas stations in the U.S. -- and published maps showing where you could find diesel pumps outside of a truck stop.
The brother of a friend of mine worked on the development of the antipollution/soot gear put in some of the big rig diesel engines. I like diesels. Today's diesel cars have great performance and... and...
And VW has sunk diesels back at least twenty years, if not more, in the U.S. and world markets.
What a bunch of crooks.
And stupid? They were SO clever to come up with their cheat, that they never thought about the consequences of when their fraud was discovered -- and it WAS going to be discovered one day.
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