Opinion – Emissions testing scandal could sink Volkswagen’s US ambitions
Volkswagen has worked hard to promote its ‘clean diesels’ inside US
Volkswagen’s cheating of emissions testing regulations will wreak havoc on the group’s ambitions to conquer the US market
The Volkswagen Group has long harboured high hopes for its sales inside USA, although matching them has proven more challenging than the producer might have wished.
In 2007, the idea boldly announced which the idea required to attain group-wide US sales of 1 million cars per year by 2018, in line which has a plan to sell an annual 10m vehicles worldwide by the same year.
For a few years, the plan appeared to be on course, with market-specific versions gaining ground against the likes of Toyota, although in recent years the growth has stalled.
The manipulation of emissions testing inside USA – reported by the US Environmental Protection Agency in addition to also seemingly uncontested in a statement made by Volkswagen Group boss Martin Winterkorn – is actually an incident which could torpedo any prospect of doing serious headway in which market for the foreseeable future.
This kind of is actually especially difficult because the idea affects VW’s diesel engines. The company has done a great deal of work to boost sales of oil burners inside USA, branding its cars as ‘Clean Diesel’ in addition to also trying to break down deep-held beliefs among American consumers which diesels are excessively dirty.
All which work in addition to also investment have been rendered void with the EPA’s revelation.
What might lead a division of one of the globe’s leading car companies to consider such action? Perhaps the idea felt under increasing pressure to live up to the grand growth proclamations made by its chiefs in 2007.
Perhaps the idea’s also an indication of how difficult the idea is actually for car makers to adhere to ever-more stringent emissions regulations with standard, non-hybrid powertrains.
Winterkorn’s statement in response to the EPA’s claims is actually contrite, in addition to also with Great reason, due to This kind of scandal also risks affecting Volkswagen’s global reputation, robbing the idea of consumer trust. As I write This kind of, the firm’s share cost on the Frankfurt stock exchange has plunged.
Recovery will be a painful process which its rivals – including Toyota with its involvement in Takata’s defective airbag recall in addition to also General Motors with its faulty ignition switch scandal – know all too well.
The EPA is actually talking about hefty fines on Volkswagen. However, while any financial penalties will be hard to swallow, as will the attendant losses in terms of car recalls in addition to also sales, the idea is actually the loss of confidence through consumers which will hit the idea hardest, in addition to also for longest.
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