Almost two months have passed since news broke on Sept. 18th of the emissions-altering “defeat-device” scandal affecting an estimated 11 million Volkswagen diesel motor vehicles worldwide. VW is possibly already on the hook for an estimated $7.3 billion as it has to do with redress, independent of and without regard to the outcome of any and all litigation brought against the auto maker in regard to the emissions-doctoring scandal.
In response, the automobile manufacturer in question is apparently offering coupons and up to $500.00 in cash worth $1,000.00 in all to those in the U.S. owning at least one of a sum total of 482,000 yet-to-be-recalled, sold-in-America, so-affected vehicles, no doubt a gesture of good will on the company’s part, this while the automobile builder works to correct the diesel-emissions-deficient situation if not to improve its image in the eyes of the global community. But, is it enough to restore buyer trust and consumer confidence in VW?
In providing comment, meanwhile, the Bee Editorial Board does not seem to be buying much if any of it, countering that Volkswagen should buy back all 11 million motor vehicles identified, that is, if the company wants to truly put things right with customers, as I understand things and, as I see it, this information coming out in a scathing-rebuke-of-an-editorial today. But, is even this the best corrective approach – what, in my minds’ eye, seems excessive.
As to the disposition of all of the affected vehicles, truth be told, there still seems to be nary a definitive resolution. Meanwhile, all 11 million impacted automobiles, presumably, continue to be driven, emitting, in some cases, pollution at levels up to 40 times acceptable or legal limits.
What the automotive manufacturer should instead consider doing is recalling the vehicles with the defeat-device software and issue in their place vehicles that meet emissions requirements or standards – a kind of trade-in scheme – in order that all of the emissions-violating vehicles are removed from circulation, to remain that way until such time that they can be repaired with the appropriate fix, an action which would provide an immediate benefit to the air. This type of approach would, in my opinion, demonstrate to all consumers – not just those who own VW products – that the company is fully committed to instituting a proper remedy to this problem once and for all. In my way of thinking, that would do it. Then, as vehicles had the then implemented repairs performed, these could be returned to their rightful owners and the so-called “loaners” could be relinquished, meaning they would go back to VW.
Should the auto maker not be able to effectively resolve the “defeat device” issue or if in doing so it would be cost-prohibitive, then the customer should either have the option of keeping the “loaner” or be refunded money equal in amount to what was paid for the vehicle when originally purchased; the latter though only as a last resort.
Logistically, collecting the identified emissions-violating vehicles would, on the surface anyway, not appear too difficult a proposition. The space taken up on dealer lots by so-called “exchange” vehicles, could be filled by the emissions-violating ones and these could be hauled away by vehicle transport trucks to designated parking lots for storage to await further disposition (transportation to a location where repairs could be performed), until such time that repairs at dealer/service centers could be made. The collection/redistribution of affected cars would be an interim step.
I believe this is a means in which this whole emissions-doctoring issue could be reasonably addressed and to the satisfaction of all concerned.