The latest scandal from the automotive industry proves that the public, and now the planet, continue to be cheated despite well-meaning regulation designed to keep us all safe.
Takata continues to make headlines for sweeping problems with its airbag systems under the rug. The airbag systems were prone to failure over time in humid climates, such as Florida, where I live and practice law. Because of this cover-up, the largest recall in automotive history was instituted resulting in a backlog of replacement airbag systems and, as a consequence, a jittery public. Worse, the defective airbags resulted in serious injuries to unsuspecting members of the public.
Now, Volkswagen, which means “people’s car” in German, has been found to have purposefully doctored its software in approximately 11 million of its vehicles in order to evade U.S. emissions requirements. Volkswagen purposefully installed a “defeat device” within its software code that specifically reduced emissions during testing. Later, when the car was driven in the manner in which it was intended, the software would allow the car to operate in such a way that much greater levels of emissions were expelled.
This resulted in members of the buying public purchasing their vehicles under the guise they were eco-friendly diesel automobiles. The scandal has caused Volkswagen’s CEO to step down after the obligatory apology was issued (only after they were caught).
Unfortunately, there seems to be no limit to the lengths the automotive industry will go to make a buck.