There was shock and controversy in September of this year when it was discovered that the cars Volkswagen manufacture can contain software which is able to cheat US pollution tests. It became apparent that this ‘defeat device’ worked to give the impression that emissions are cleaner than they actually are, which is especially shocking considering that an estimated 11 million vehicles have been affected by this.
Why is this so bad, you might wonder? Well, what with a big push on saving the environment and protecting it as much as possible, this lie simmered and was seen as a huge breach of trust. The software was essentially a way for the company to deceive those believing that the car they were driving was doing less damage than it actually was. The topic of the environment and global warming is one that’s on many people’s minds, so this scandal really has made an impact, making many question whether what we’re told is the truth, or a lie to hide what lies beneath.
With this hitting the headlines and sparking continuous debate, it’s now become public and common knowledge that emissions tests can easily be manipulated by using tactics which allowed the manufacturers to design cars that were able to pass the test in a controlled environment. The results may have seemed positive, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that having these low and seemingly impressive emissions levels actually carried over when the vehicles were used in everyday life.
This really leads us onto the real question, which is why would companies go to such great lengths to cover up their genuine emissions and give off the impression that they were lower than they were, instead of actually improving them? The answer is most likely down to monetary factors, but this could now be considered the perfect opportunity to really make some changes and actually start to do what everyone thought they were doing to begin with: lowering emissions and, in turn, giving people a reason to trust them again.
Implications for others
If the above wasn’t bad enough, the scandal also painted a fairly negative picture of not just the German brand VW, but other car manufacturers too. Further tests will be carried out to try and right the wrongs, but it may not be so easy for consumers to get past this. It has made people wonder whether anyone else is using such underhand tactics and deceit to look better to the general public, all in an effort to be able to sell more cars. At what length will car manufacturers go to convince people that the cars they create aren’t harming the environment too much?
It’s a interesting topic, and one that has ramped up plenty of discussion and debate, which is why we wanted to look at it in a bit more detail. It will definitely take a while for the dust to settle, and car manufacturers will surely be under greater suspicion and scrutiny moving forward, but hopefully this will mean that positive improvements will be made, with more rigorous and by-the-book emissions tests being carried out, so that this kind of scandal won’t happen again.