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Waiting for the clean diesel train to arrive

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Published on Sat, Jun 25, 2016

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

An Un-Thankful Thanksgiving Story Update ... 11.28.16 Perhaps the least thankful Thanksgiving in Volkswagen’s diesel sojourn here in the United States was made known by AutoWeek on the day before the national holiday. It seems that the continuing fallout from VW’s Diesel Debacle has convinced upper company leadership that they’ve so scorched the earth in the United States with their company-wide electronic cover-up of the cheating (and not by a smidge, but by nearly 40 times the mandated limit) on the emissions from a wide range of very popular diesel-powered Volkswagen models including the Golf, Jetta, Beetle, Passat, and Touareg, that they’ll, “... not offer new diesel models in the U.S.” I’ve called it a betrayal since about an hour after I read the news many months ago. I hate it that Volkswagen is now underling my words with a fat, wide felt tip pen. I’m (demonstrably) not an engineer, but I’m pretty damn sure that they’ve not even got an honest “fix” for the 400,000 cars that are here now (and you’ll pardon the phrase) illegally. Remember please that Volkswagen advertised these machines using the words CLEAN DIESEL in bold type as large as their own brand name on TV and in print ads. And which smart, informed people paid a fair sum over the price of the same VW model in gasoline-powered trim. They dug deeper mostly for the mileage and the great driving range I know (and the get up and go was great too), but a lot of them also put that extra couple of thousand bucks down behind that word CLEAN ... You know, as in good for the environment, etc. But whatever part of the above punch list caused Americans buy those 400,000 cars, Volkswagen unfortunately saw to it that they would not get the enjoyment out of the cars that they bought, and in many cases in fact helped to make some believers look like damn fools to friends and family. Even beyond their customers ... their loyal dealers, and their faithful corporate employees all took it in the shorts for this (and here’s that word again friends) betrayal. After all these months the word still rings true in my tin ear. -Stokes

Will TDI owners suffer the same fate as Hachiko? (Hachi, A Dogs Tale - Stage 6 Films)

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.


An old Volkswagen TDI Clean Diesel advertisement

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.


Another ad from the glory days of Clean Diesel

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


Still waiting for the train to arrive (Hachi, A Dogs Tale - Stage 6 Films)

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