Raise your hand if you’ve ever responded to a friend’s complaint by saying, “Doesn’t this seem like a first-world problem?” Are you reading this in your cubicle, hand raised, feeling slightly foolish? All right—put your hand down. Here’s the thing with so-called “first-world problems”: despite their overall insignificance, they’re still real problems. Sure, we wouldn’t rank problems like “the only grocery store in my neighborhood is Whole Foods” alongside “educational inequality is a national epidemic” or “the extreme partisanship infecting the American political process is stunting the possibility of effective change,” but if the only grocery store in your neighborhood is Whole Foods, then the inevitability of spending half your paycheck on (amazing) bananas and homemade hummus could, in fact, very well be a serious personal inconvenience.
It’s been almost one year since news broke of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. At the time, we wondered how deep this scandal would go and if VW’s TDI plans were irreparable.
So far, Volkswagen has shown no interest in bringing its TDI line back to the U.S., but seems to have been doing just fine without it. Last month CNN said,
Global sales of Volkswagen cars and trucks have eked out about a 1% gain in the first five months of the year, despite the scandal. May sales gains were even stronger, a sign that the automaker is starting to put the diesel scandal behind it. Its U.S. sales have been down 7% in the first half of the year, although the United States accounts for only about 5% of its global sales.
Volkswagen’s outlook isn’t all rosy, though. This week investigators with the U.S. Department of Justice have found evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the case.
Volkswagen has left a gaping hole in the U.S. auto market.
The German automaker’s line of affordable turbodiesel vehicles is mostly non-existent as the fallout from last year’s emission scandal continues to unfold.
Volkswagen’s small and midsize vehicles are no longer certified for sale in the United States, and the company has, thus far, made no effort to attempt recertification. That means buyers will be hard-pressed to find a VW with a diesel engine on dealer lots across the country.
That’s in stark contrast to earlier in 2015, when Volkswagen diesels accounted for about 20 percent of the company’s sales.
Volkswagen proved that a demand for diesel exists in this country and has left an opportunity for another automaker to take the reins and attempt to satisfy whatever hunger might be left for fuel-efficient diesels.
Mazda appears ready to try its hand at becoming that automaker.
Volkswagen has agreed to pay a massive $14.7 billion fine to the U.S. government and other entities to settle allegations of cheating on emissions tests and deceiving customers about its 2.0-liter TDI engines. That’s a big number, but what does it mean for the average Volkswagen owner?
You stand to lose a lot of value on your used Volkswagen, according to extensive CarGurus research. (Settlement details have yet to be announced for the 3.0-liter diesel engines.) CarGurus’ data team analyzed a sample of the VW models impacted by the emissions scandal in order to determine what the scandal has cost owners since news of the “defeat device” first broke in September (right before a really awkward 2016 Jetta launch in New York City). The calculations were based on CarGurus’ Instant Market Value (IMV) analysis, which is run daily on millions of used-car listings.
Volkswagen is bleeding out.
The company once had grand hopes of becoming the largest automaker in the world but now finds itself struggling to dig out of a crippling emissions scandal that will likely cost tens of billions of dollars, not including pending litigation from consumer groups and the United States government.
Volkswagen’s marketing has turned toward promoting its turbo lineup and gas-powered SUVs and crossovers, but sales are in a spiral.
Recovering from this mess will take years, so maybe the time has come for VW to seriously consider abandoning the U.S. market. Here are some reasons why:
Volkswagen is like the kid who got caught lying to his parents.
When a kid lies, his parents may punish him by taking away his allowance, making him apologize, and possibly making him pay back the people to whom he lied.
If those punishments don’t work, or if the lie was particularly heinous, a parent might ask his or her child to contribute to solving the problem that caused the lie in the first place.
We all know that VW got caught lying to the government (and its customers) by using technology to cheat emissions tests on nearly 600,000 cars. We’re about five months into the scandal and there still isn’t a plan in place to compensate customers or fix the affected vehicles. Volkswagen will undoubtedly be fined billions of dollars for the lie and face lawsuits, but now the U.S. government has also asked the carmaker to go a step further and build cars that make lying about emissions impossible.
I can’t imagine anything much scarier than finding out your business is being sued by the United States of America.
Of course, to avoid that from happening, all you have to do is play by the rules and not intentionally deceive the government while taking home millions of dollars in profit. Pretty easy, right?
Volkswagen is learning that lesson the hard way. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against the automaker over the emissions scandal that saw the German car giant install software in hundreds of thousands of cars to cheat emissions tests.
The allegations in the lawsuit, which accuse Volkswagen of intentionally violating the Clean Air Act by installing illegal devices to impair emission control systems in 600,000 vehicles, carries penalties that could cost Volkswagen billions of dollars. Yes, the wrath of the U.S. government will finally rain down on VW.
All automakers in September saw their average transaction price increase.
Well, all but one.
Volkswagen is the only major automaker to see its average transaction price drop in the month of September. This could be just the beginning of the fallout of its diesel scandal, but it could also mean good deals for savvy shoppers.
There’s no question that Volkswagen is now in a full-blown crisis situation. In fact, one prominent VW exec illustrated just how bad things are by saying he thinks his company could pay the ultimate price:
Volkswagen AG’s designated Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch warned managers that the diesel-emissions scandal could pose “an existence-threatening crisis for the company.”
Sure, there are some exotic vehicles on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show, including the Bentley Bentayga and the Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 Spyder. However, there are plenty of models coming to the U.S. that made their debut overseas and could impact your buying choices in the near future.
It seems hard to believe, but the 2017 version will be the fourth generation of the Kia Sportage. The European version was introduced in Frankfurt, but there’s little reason to believe the U.S. version will look substantially different on the exterior.
One of the requirements of becoming the best in the world at something is to continually get better than your competition.
Volkswagen would very much like to be the best automaker in the world, and by best, I mean biggest.
Again, being the biggest requires a steady incline in size. Without growth, well, you don’t become the biggest. Rocket science, I know.
Volkswagen’s desire to be the world’s number-one automaker was last mentioned on these pages sometime in 2011. In the years since, how have the Germans come along on their goal?
Not too well, it turns out.