Over the past couple of weeks, all eyes have turned to Volkswagen. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency directed the company to recall a half-million vehicles for having deceptive emissions systems. The act sparked an international crisis and caused CEO Martin Winterkorn to resign. And that is only the beginning.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of testing vehicles’ emissions to make sure they are within the limits of public health. On September 18, 2015, the EPA accused Volkswagen of using software to dodge the agency’s emission standards. The program is designed to detect when the vehicle is undergoing periodic emissions testing, and in response, turns on the vehicle’s emissions control systems. The rest of the time, the car operates without the control systems. As a result, it can produce up to 40 times the allowable air pollution.
Cynthia Giles, the EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance, called the software “a threat to public health,” telling the New York Times, “We expected better from Volkswagen.”
The EPA directed Volkswagen to recall nearly a half-million vehicles sold in the U.S., including models Jetta and Jetta SportsWagen, Beetle, Passat, Audi A3, Golf and Golf SportsWagen. By Tuesday, September 22, 2015, that number had expanded to 11 million as European vehicles were found to contain the same “defeat device”.
“As C.E.O., I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines.”
However, he and his executive committee still claim he had no knowledge of the defeat device.
The consequences of this intentional dodging of national requirements often fall short of consumer protection advocates’ expectations. The EPA has required recalls and issued fines, but so far no one has gone to jail. Even though Volkswagen has set aside $7.3 billion – half a year’s profits – to make its vehicles comply with the appropriate pollution standards, how that money will be spent and whether consumers will be compensated remains to be seen.
Don’t leave your recovery to chance. Most consumers choose to buy diesel cars and trucks for economy and reliability. Volkswagen of America, including the VW and Audi divisions, advertised its Aclean diesel@ technology as combining these attributes with superior performance in its 2.0L engines while still complying with the EPA=s Clean Air standards. Unfortunately, many Volkswagen and Audi customers have been sorely disappointed by Volkswagen/Audi diesels that fail to live up to these legitimate expectations. If you own or lease a VW or Audi vehicle equipped with a 2.0L diesel engine, you may have rights under state and federal law, even if your warranty has expired.
The Liblang Law Firm, P.C., has been rated as preeminent in the field of motor vehicle consumer rights and remedies. We have successfully handled well over 15,000 individual consumer claims on behalf of vehicle owners, and have been legal counsel or co-counsel in motor vehicle class action cases affecting millions of consumers. We have decided to apply our resources to aggressively pursue remedies for this consumer injustice perpetrated by VW. If you would like us to evaluate your individual situation, contact The Liblang Law Firm, P.C., today for a free consultation.