A scandal the size of the one Volkswagen is coming out of would be enough to topple many automotive companies in existence today. With billions of dollars in fines, recall, and repair costs, in addition to criminal charges from the U.S. government, the company took a direct shot to the heart of its brand that left appalled customers clamoring for answers.
Volkswagen could very well have dropped to its knees and succumbed to its injuries. Being the largest automaker in the world, though, has certain perks, and surviving catastrophe is apparently one of them.
The story of VW’s emissions cheating broke in September 2015. Just three months into 2017, the company’s chairman has declared that the automaker is “back on track.”
That statement came just days after VW pleaded guilty to three felonies in a U.S. District Court. How is that “back on track,” exactly?
Automotive News said in a story,
Speaking through an interpreter at the automaker’s annual press conference here, Matthias Mueller said that despite a global diesel crisis, “2016 did not turn out to be the nightmare that many predicted” for VW.
To move forward, though, VW “must become more international, more entrepreneurial and more female — especially at the management level.”
Mueller has been CEO since shortly after the diesel crisis broke in September 2015. He pledged VW’s continued cooperation with authorities around the globe investigating the company’s nearly decade-long effort to cheat on emissions tests with so-called defeat devices.
In short, VW’s plan is to fix the cars that are required to be fixed, get out of the diesel business, expand into the electric business, and hire more female managers. Those are all respectable goals, but it still has those pesky criminal charges.
The guilty plea, and more than $4 billion in fines, could turn out to be just enough to get the company out of hot water with the government. Well, that and a $25 billion commitment to address claims from owners. The fines and an admission of guilt will eventually help put the scandal in the past, but are buyers ready to forgive Volkswagen?
All signs point to yes as the automaker saw a sales increase of 12.7 percent last month compared with February 2016.
Have you forgiven Volkswagen for its lies surrounding the emissions scandal? Would you buy one?