Boy, people are upset over that Volkswagen thing. It seems 11 million cars world wide are affected by VW's gaming of the system to confirm cars are meeting emissions standards. Software made the cars run under strict emissions standards when being tested but not so much when actually out on the open road. The thing is that's pretty damn clever. Granted, clever in the service of EVIL but still. It's like in Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin would come up with some convoluted scheme involving robotics or time travel to get out of homework or cleaning his room. In the time it took to work out the details of his plan, Calvin could've finished his homework or cleaned his room. In the time and effort it took VW engineers to figure out how to trick the emissions test, those same engineers could've figured out a way to make their cars compliant with emissions tests.
Instead Volkswagen is now or will be subjected to recalls, fines, class action lawsuits, a loss of sales and damaged credibility. It's that last one it's hard to put a price tag on but it's the most valuable asset a company can have. And of all the car companies in the world, VW had a lot of goodwill with a lot of consumers. As the frequent victim of my daughter's games of Punch Buggy, I know there are A LOT of VW Beetles out there.
And this is the thing that bothers me whenever any company gets caught doing something like this. Are the rewards for cheating the system or cutting corners or not meeting standards really worth the potential costs? I don't know how much money VW made or saved with each car that was tricked out to avoid accurate emissions testing but consider the costs to the company for their actions. Not just in the out of pocket expenses for fixing the problem, paying fines and settling lawsuits but in the costs to reputation. How many sales will be impacted by this scandal? Not just sales lost but those made with deep discounts to entice a customer to stay with Volkswagen.
Yet time and time again, companies will do this, engaging in a practice to reduce costs and increase profits that ultimately does more damage than good, costs more money that is made, perhaps even affecting that company's ability to stay in business.
I don't think Volkswagen is in mortal danger but its reputation for building a dependable and economical car that is also environmentally friendly has taken a big hit and it's a cost that outweighs whatever gains they were seeking. Really, VW, what the fahrvergnugen were you thinking?
Everyone be good to one another. I'll be back with another post tomorrow.