Auto manufacturing giant Volkswagen has been accused of using deceptive
software in many of its cars to cheat emissions testing. The Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with European authorities, claims
to have caught the car maker knowingly rigging over 11 million vehicles
to sense when they’re being tested and to reduce emissions accordingly.
Nearly half a million such vehicles have been sold in the United States,
where criminal charges are likely to send several top company officials
to prison, and a $7.3 billion recall has already been initiated.
Deceptive Software Hides True Emissions Profile
At the heart of Volkswagen’s trouble is the allegedly deceptive nature
of claims the company used to sell millions of cars to environmentally
conscious consumers, who paid several thousand dollars extra for “Clean
Diesel” cars. VW engineers achieved low emissions by using a sophisticated
emissions control system that scrub pollutants from the exhaust while
vehicles operate. According to
the complaint, this system only functioned while cars are tested; the software detects
the test from the steering wheel placement and other factors and disengages
the control system during normal driving.
Quantifying the Harm
Volkswagen’s actions, which have already led to several high-profile
resignations, have likely done a great deal of harm. Not only do the altered
vehicles emit dangerous chemicals, such as nitrogen oxides, at levels
up to 40 times higher than other cars, but customers who paid up to $7,000
for “clean” technology now will likely watch the resale values
of their cars plummet.
If you made a car-buying decision based on selling points that turn out
later to have been fraudulent, you may be entitled to significant damages.
Consult with an experienced attorney to learn how to protect your rights
and obtain fair compensation from Volkswagen.
Washington D.C. attorneys would be happy to provide a free and thorough consultation about your
recent accident or possible VW case. Call or email use today to explore
your strategic options.
What if your vehicle's behaving strangely, but you're not sure
whether or not you've developed an actionable problem? For insight, read:
How to Handle Difficult-to-Replicate Auto Issues: Do You Think You Have
a Defective Vehicle?