On September 18th, it became known that Volkswagen had programmed over 500,000 diesel vehicles to have lower rates of harmful emissions in tests than on the road. In an official statement, Volkswagen admitted that it was not just 500,000 vehicles affected, but 11 million that had tests that were tampered with. Models affected include the VW Jetta, Beetle, and Golf from the years 2009 to 2015. During a press conference, CEO Mark Winkerton said, “I would…like to make a formal apology to our customers, to the authorities, and to the general public for this misconduct.” After the announcement, the Volkswagen stock took a 17% plunge, and in total for the week has lost about a third of its value. The company will pay over $7.3 billion to cover the cost of recalls. Amidst this crisis, the CEO of the company has resigned and officials are urging the company to have “complete transparency” through the process of making reparations. The scandal may prove to be very harmful for the German car industry, which makes up 20% of the country’s exports. VW’s mistakes have sparked an outcry by France and Britain for a Europe-wide investigation into emissions rates.
Contributor: Claire Pacek