Three years after being exposed, is the worst behind VW?
It's been three years since Volkswagen admitted it cheated on diesel emissions. Just look at how much has changed since. Diesel, once a popular option, especially in Europe, carries a negative stigma and it's unlikely to ever recover. VW paid dearly for its actions, both financially and legally. Audi's now-former CEO was in the slammer for months until his recent release. Instead of diesel, VW has turned its full attention to electric-powertrains (though diesels will continue for light and commercial trucks). So much has changed and hopefully for the better.
That's exactly how VW CEO Herbert Diess feels. According to Automotive News Europe, Diess believes "most" of the diesel scandal is in the past where he hopes it'll stay.
"We basically bought back and fixed close to 90 percent of the cars" globally, Diess said recently. "I think most of the things we have overcome" he said. "We still have legal issues worldwide, in Germany - you're aware of that - and it will take years to solve everything. We just settled with Audi, with the state attorneys in Germany. There are still legal issues, but technically, we overcame most of the issues." Diess also added the legal problems VW faced in the US were the most severe globally.
"Legally, we had here really a situation which was much more severe (compared) to the rest of the world, because our cars, when we launched the cars, would not comply with legislation."
In Europe, by contrast, "the fix was relatively easy; it was a software update for about 10 million cars, which is also through. We have fixed 90 percent of the cars, but it was not a real severe technical issue. The situation here in America was, by far, the most critical one worldwide. And it has to do with the emission regulation here in the United States, which is much tougher than in the rest of the world."
Above all, Diess sure sounds like he's doing his best to make things right with global governments and the buying public. Will we still be talking about Dieselgate in, say, another three years from now? Impossible to predict, but by that time VW will have launched more than one of its all-electric I.D. models.