Volkswagen announced that it has been cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests since 2009 through the use of defeat device software. The company now must recall 500,000 vehicles in the United States that are equipped with the device, though an estimated 11 million vehicles worldwide are involved in the scandal.
The technology enables the vehicle to know when it is undergoing a test. Under testing conditions, a device will switch on and limit the level of nitrogen oxide that is released from the car. Under all other driving conditions, the switch remains off and allows the vehicle to emit up to 40 times the allowable level of chemicals.
The vehicles included in the recall are 2009-2015 Jetta, Golf, and Beetle; 2014-2015 Passat; and 2009-2015 Audi A3.
The announcement has infuriated many who purchased the vehicles under the guise of clean diesel, which is how the vehicles have been marketed for many years. They feel as though they have been cheated and lied to. Those who purchased the car for their green features say they no longer want the car and that the value has been greatly diminished. Several lawsuits have already been filed against the German automaker.
The company has set aside an initial $7.3 billion for fines, recalls, lawsuits and other expenses that may develop. However, that may not be enough. The automaker could face fines of up to $18 billion from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Many are pushing for harsh criminal penalties for the deceitful practices of both the company and individuals who were involved. However, another criminal investigation into General Motors was settled just last week without any individuals facing charges. The company was found to have hid a faulty ignition switch from consumers and regulators for more than a decade.
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