How often do you get thousands of dollars for being lied to?
I can’t be the only one who doesn’t feel bad for Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche owners caught up in Dieselgate. Some of these drivers probably feel lied to and cheated by the VW Group and its promises of clean diesel. The American public and government bought into the automaker’s lies that its diesel engines were ultra-clean and less harmful to the environment. Some people probably thought they were making a difference by driving one of these diesels. But many more people probably didn’t give a crap. And now they are being rewarded.
If I sound bitter know that I’m not. In fact, I think Volkswagen being forced to pay up and buy back affected cars is one of the greatest things to ever happen to consumers. Why? Because unlike most recalls, this one didn’t directly harm anyone. This recall doesn’t involve an airbag that impersonates a hand grenade upon deployment. It’s not about gas tanks going up in flames. It also didn't render any cars inoperable, and at this point we don't know if the fix will affect performance. That doesn't sound so bad to me. But what about the environmental impact? Excess pollution directly affects the health of people around the world. But just how big of an impact has Dieselgate had on the world’s health?
A group of researchers in the Netherlands came to the conclusion that the world’s population lost a combined 45,000 years of healthy living thanks to the nefarious cheat software. Now 45,000 years is a lot of lifetimes. However, the world’s population is around 7.4 billion people. You do the math on that one. Just because I think the consequences aren’t so bad doesn’t mean I side with VW, though. The arrogance the heads of the company showed and their utter contempt for the environment and laws of the US and countries around the world is deplorable. They should have the book thrown at them as hard as possible. But when it comes to consumers my eyes are dry. Each one of them is guaranteed to get $5,100 as a “sorry.”
Keep in mind that they already got a $500 Visa debit gift card and a $500 VW dealership gift card already. If an owner elects to sell their car back to Volkswagen the payout increases. Even those with leases aren't left out, with the automaker saying it would compensate lease holders and terminate their contracts at no cost. The worst someone caught up in Dieselgate could cash out with is $5,600 (which includes the aforementioned gift card), should you take the free fix and keep the car. I’m betting that most people will decide to sell their car back, paying off the remainder of the loan and using the extra cash towards a new car. That sounds like a great deal to me, and it’s one I bet most Americans would take if given the chance, scandal or not.