AND STILL WE WAIT
Waiting for the clean diesel train to arrive
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Published on Sat, Jun 25, 2016
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Remember the Richard Gere movie, “Hachi”, based on an actual Akita dog named Hachiko? In the real life version, Hachiko waited by the train station every day for nearly 10 years for his master’s arrival. The master never arrive, having suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage. Similarly, owners of VW’s TDI vehicles have been waiting for the clean diesel train to arrive. Will the fix ever arrive, or will owners suffer the same fate as Hachiko? Editor Doug Stokes laments.
By Doug Stokes
All automobile manufacturers, at one time or another advertise, talk, about the technical aspects of their machines. Be it only the fact that a product has “wide track” or that it will (somehow) put “a rocket in your pocket”; or, perhaps, is a “Clean Diesel”.
Volkswagen yesterday announced what their unprecedented diesel debacle will cost them (a nice, round $10.2 billion dollars) to resolve without indicating what the actual fixing of the nearly 500,000 affected cars they sold that are desperately dirty might entail.
Oh, there are guesses out there. I’ve asked and heard a few from some of the very best in the diesel business. A urea system, DPF, a re-flash of the offending machine’s electronics … maybe a combination of two, or perhaps, all three …
No one knows and Volkswagen AG, who has lost all credibility (and a number of top company officers along the way), is still not saying.
There’s a sense of petulance in the whole deal for my gut. Volkswagen seems to hardly give a (you put in the epithet) about the loyal, sincere customers who bought these cars and in many cases because they were said to be “clean”.
Yeah, sure, they got better mileage than the gasoline versions, and there was that husky diesel grunt that made pushing down on the “gas” pedal even more fun in a diesel. But everyone paid quite a bit more for the privilege, and many paid that bounty with their hearts fully believing that they were doing something honestly positive for the environment, while Volkswagen had them doing just the opposite.
So we come back to paragraph 5 above. What is the fix? Where is it? What will it do? If the mileage only drops by 10% and the torque and horsepower are down by roughly the same amount … IF I owned one, I think that I’d get the fix done and keep the car regardless of all the, “Say… isn’t that one of those awful Volkswagen D…? that I’d be getting from smart-ass friends.
I can foresee a good business idea in de-badging late model Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel vehicles they way that they used to take the lower (less desirable) model numbers off the trunk lids of Mercedes’ automobiles a few years back.
Stonewalling, talking up all the shiny new electric vehicles that are planned down the line, maybe firing a few of the top guys, and throwing out a Pentagon-sized number that you say is going to cost you to clean up this mess; looks almost like some sort of subterfuge to me.
Sorry about that Volkswagen, but that’s just my perspective from here. I think that your dealers, your corporate employees, your customers, (and even your ad agency) all deserve a bit more candor.
This already has been way too little for way too long. –DS 06.24.16