If you really do believe that Volkswagen is interested in preventing world hunger, phasing out its reliance on making fossil fuel-powered cars, and saving the world from climate disaster by switching to making electric cars… don’t be fooled by any attempts of redemption. For over 25 years Volkswagen and its monopolistic apostles, Mercedes and BMW, aligned their corporate hegemonic interests to manufacture consent. They claimed their diesel technology was the cleanest in the world. It wasn’t. It was a big fat lie, no different from Donald Trump extolling the virtues of America’s “clean coal”.
Whereas Donald Trump is not the brightest brick in the load, VW, Mercedes and BMW employ only the very best minds. But when corporate interests are on the line, even the very best and brightest of minds become Trumpian. Dieselgate is a ball and chain that has never washed off VW’s stained public image ever since dieselgate was exposed back in 2015. Volkswagen has borne the publicity of the dieselgate cross alone to the cost of $31BN in regulatory fines.
After all, Volkswagen was the instigator of dieselgate, but the fines and class action lawsuits show no signs of ending anytime soon. Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DHU), a German non-profit environmental and consumer protection association, recently sued Germany’s KBA federal motor authority. In the lawsuit, DHU argues that KBA had a duty to thoroughly investigate software manipulation techniques used by Volkswagen to cheat emissions testing.
DHU additionally argued that KBA should never have validated the testing of VW Golf diesel vehicles which were using software manipulation, so-called defeat devices, to barrel roll emissions testing. A court in Hamburg, Germany ruled in favor of DHU. DHU wants VW to recall all Golf diesel vehicles fitted with the defeat device software to enable retrospective refits.
VW counter-argues that the defeat device software is now responsible for active engine management and removing it would lead to engine damage. Without any remorse, and to rubber stamp their lack of redemption, VW also added that it would be “irresponsible” to remove the defeat device because it could lead to accidents and death. This fragile counter-argument from VW is at the very least appallingly hypocritical and goes against the EU which ruled that such defeat devices, ergo software, are illegal.
VW said the ruling can be appealed, however, they may have to cave to federal and EU pressure. Last November, the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of environmental associations taking legal action against VW. The DHU is planning further action against the KBA, including Mercedes and BMW, which could lead to over 10 million cars being recalled at a huge cost to the manufacturers.