The German government has found Volkswagen responsible for a new attempt to hid harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides, this time on Audi luxury models. The company will have to recall and modify 24,000 A7 and A8 models built between 2009 and 2013 and equipped with V6 and V8 diesel engines, of which about half were sold in Germany.
This latest scandal involving the German marque brings to mind the tale of the scorpion and the frog, with the former stinging the latter, resulting in the death of both, with the scorpion apologizing by saying it was in its nature. That senior management would take the risk, following the biggest scandal in the history of the automotive industry, forcing the company to put aside more than €22 billion in fines and compensation, of being found out for doing the same thing defies any attempt at understanding. We are talking about a firm that consciously designed systems specifically conceived to conceal higher-than-authorized emissions in order to gain additional performance that would make its vehicles more competitive. Profits above all, and at the expense of the planet and the health of its inhabitants.
The affected vehicles were supposedly given Euro-5 emission certification, but emitted more than double the legal limit of nitrogen oxides when the steering wheel was turned more than 15 degrees, which happens during driving, but not in laboratories. The trick had been developed to intentionally hide emissions when the vehicles were under inspection. The brand now has until June 15 to find a system to modify the vehicles it has already sold and to meet the corresponding emissions norms.
The new scandal wrong foots those who saw the previous scandal as a trade war between manufacturers in different countries: the fact that the Volkswagen group is again involved and that, in addition, the accusations come from the German government, its country of origin, refute any such arguments. There is no trade war over emissions: there are simply companies that have no ethics or sense of corporate social responsibility, brands that will have to work very hard to shed the labels of deceitful and harmful. And that the marque remains, after the previous scandal, the world’s best-selling brand, and that this happens just the day after Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Paris Agreement, only proves just how deeply stupid the human race is.
(En español, aquí)