Newsletter Issue #827: The Auto Industry and Trust

October 5th, 2015

I was surprised to learn that most auto makers use their own facilities, or hired hands, to test for emissions and fuel economy. So it’s not that America’s EPA will necessarily come on over to a factory, test equipment in hand, to perform a direct inspection unless there was the need to do so. It’s not the same as a restaurant being visited by the health department to make sure the facilities are clean and there are no creepy crawly things running loose.

So this was a disaster waiting to happen, and when Volkswagen apparently tried to make excuses when confronted with evidence that many recent vehicles with diesel engines emitted too much of the foul stuff, they were forced to come clean. So hundreds of thousands of cars sold between 2009 and 2015 in the U.S. are subject to recalls to install a fix. VW admits that over 11 million vehicles around the world suffer from the same problem.

The source? Well, evidently VW installed software on these vehicles that disabled certain emission controls under normal use, but when they were being checked for emissions, the controls were switched on. The mind boggles over excuses from departing corporate executives that they didn’t know that millions of their vehicles were being hacked in this way to pass air pollution regulations around the world.

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