Keeping Large Corporations Honest – The Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Debacle
For many years, we as a society have known that our development and consumption have taken a toll on our planet. I still remember hearing the jingle as a child “reduce, reuse, recycle” when watching television. During the last 40 plus years of my life, I have observed and appreciated the efforts of our local and national governments, as well as many corporations, to bring the issues of pollution and recycling to the forefront to instill a social conscience in consumers. As a result, recycling and pollution reduction programs have continued to grow.
Although some consumers are slow to come around, I am proud to say that many of my friends and family members choose to purchase products which may be more expensive than others in an effort to contribute to the health of our planet. One example of such a product is the automobile. Consumers are now routinely choosing electric vehicles over gasoline powered vehicles, choosing gasoline powered vehicles with greater gas mileage or a combination of the two, such as a hybrid vehicle.
Volkswagen, the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, introduced its turbo diesel engines (TDI) to consumers and advertised them as environmentally friendly vehicles without compromising the performance desired by automobile consumers. In fact, the window sticker for one such vehicle obtained by Ashcraft & Gerel states: “Environmental Performance – Protect the environment, choose vehicles with higher scores:” and boasts a “Global Warming Score” of 8 out of 10, with 10 being the “Cleanest”. Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of car buyers in the United States relied upon the representations and promises made by Volkswagen and purchased one of these clean diesel vehicles. Every one of these consumers were led to believe that every mile they drove was less harmful to the environment than a vehicle without clean diesel technology.
And then the wheels came off… Volkswagen has admitted to defrauding consumers who purchased its clean diesel vehicles by installing defeat devices into the vehicles which only permitted emissions control devices to perform during U.S. emissions tests. At all other times the vehicles were driven, the vehicles actually produced and released into the environment up to 40 times the amount of Nitrogen Oxide allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”). In other words, hundreds of thousands of consumers who believed they were helping the environment by choosing a Volkswagen clean diesel vehicle were actually making it worse. Were it not for independent researchers who discovered this fraud by Volkswagen, coupled with actions by the EPA, the corporate greed exhibited by Volkswagen in connection with its clean diesel engines would not have been discovered.
Ashcraft & Gerel is working with owners of Volkswagen clean diesel vehicles in order to determine the damages to which these owners are entitled from the company that deceived them. If you or anyone you know own a Volkswagen clean diesel vehicle and would like to discuss your potential claims against Volkswagen, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. Ashcraft & Gerel and its attorneys are currently fighting for the rights of Volkswagen owners in a continued effort to keep large corporations like Volkswagen honest.