VW in big trouble regarding recalls

The bad news for Volkswagen just keeps rolling off the AP assembly line. When the U.S. government put out notices that automakers should recall even more cars and trucks due to a potentially deadly Takata airbag issue, VW replied by telling safety regulators the recall wasn’t necessary.

After a harsh rebuttal from the government, VW agreed to the recall, likely because they are already in big trouble thanks to their widely-publicized emissions testing scandals.

The recall will impact roughly 850,000 Audi and VW models sold in the United States with model years stretching from 2006 to 2014.

So, they agreed to the recall and bit the bullet, right? What’s the big deal? Well, the big deal came courtesy of a letter sent to safety regulators arguing the recall “may be overboard.” This is incendiary indifference considering the nation is still reeling from the GM recall fiasco, with that delay linked to the deaths of scores of people.

According to David Milberg of New York, “While Volkswagen may have a point – their airbag inflators were made in factories in Germany, not in the United States and Mexico, where the defective airbags have been traced. Still, combined with their insistence on pushing back against federal agencies is not winning friends for the company among wary consumers.”

Once the darlings of the automotive world and a company on a rocket ship trajectory to the top of the industry, Volkswagen spent much of 2015 and early 2016 embroiled in controversy, watching sales fall and profits diminish. The emissions scandal stands to cost them millions, some say tens of millions, and potential criminal charges. But that’s just the beginning of the fallout.

Consumers may balk at the emissions trick, but then let it go because VW got busted, but it’s tough to overlook a company that seems to take the lives of consumers so flippantly. The detail that the VW airbag deployment devices were not made in the same factories as the bad ones will not matter in the least. Consumers will hear “VW” and “possible death” in the same sentence and react with visceral disgust. If the company wishes to win back any of its previous appeal, it needs to get serious about public safety – and in a very public way.


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