Bring Volkswagen to justiceWe are dumbfounded at Volkswagen’s illegitimate actions out of control. The prosecution announced that it confirmed suspicions over the top German carmaker manipulating its software to meet local standards for emissions not only from its diesel cars but also from gasoline vehicles. Prosecutors have secured a statement that the headquarters of Volkswagen ordered its local distributor to tamper with emissions software for its Golf 1.4 TSI model, a gasoline-powered automobile, after the model failed to pass a local emissions test for certification in May 2014.
The prosecution also found that Volkswagen fabricated as many as 48 test score documents involving fuel efficiency as well. When the latest cases are included, the world-renowned carmaker was most likely involved in falsifying the documents it submitted to our government for tests.
But despite clear evidence of manipulation as seen in local investigations since the breakout of Volkswagen’s fuel efficiency scandal in September last year, the car company stops way short of ordering recalls to fix the problem or offering compensation packages to local car owners. Even after its half-hearted recall plans were turned down by the Ministry of Environment for three times, the carmaker continues to shrug it off. That’s a sharp contrast with its prompt actions to recall the same models sold in Europe with a total cost of 16.2 billion euro and offer $10 billion compensation packages to the roughly 600,000 U.S. owners.
Behind Volkswagen’s such dismissive and arrogant approaches are our environment authorities’ tendency to levy weak punishment on illegal activities of foreign companies and our consumers’ laidback attitudes. As the government’s regulations on recalls only mandate producers submit their recall plans within 45 days after confirmation of defection — with no further instruction afterwards — car manufacturers can protract their cases with no time limits.
The government is only watching the scene with folded arms citing a lack of articles on refunding for intentionally manipulated cars.
Nevertheless, Volkswagen’s car sales increased by a big margin after the car company reinforced its marketing strategies in Korea, which led three models of Volkswagen to be among the top five imported cars here.
Bringing the company to justice carries a great significance, as it reflects a strong determination by our society. If the government and our customers continue to let themselves be neglected by a foreign company, they will continue to be an underdog in the future.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jun. 20, Page 30