Is the Volkswagen Olive Branch Enough?

Volkswagen logo against cloudy sky January 2016

The world listened in awe as news circulated about how Volkswagen – a company whose name essentially implies that it is about people – had deceived the authorities and millions of its customers.  The offence: covering the truth about its diesel emissions and falsifying the numbers regarding this.

As you may remember, the scandal caused an outrage.  The media was all over it for a while, and the company was slapped with a huge repayment.  The scandal was named Dieselgate, and Volkswagen looked like it was in serious trouble for a while.  And, as a matter of fact, it is still clamouring to repair its tarnished reputation.

The Volkswagen Goodwill Program

In order to try and make things right, the company decided to launch the 2.0 TDI Goodwill program, which aimed to make peace between the company and its customers.  These customers were offered two gift cards, each with a value of $500.  The first card is able to be spent anywhere, while the second may only be spent at VW dealerships.

The gesture was seen by some as slightly hollow, but that hasn’t stopped the company from trying again.  This time the owners of 3.0 litre TDI diesels are eligible for the $500 cards, and again can spend one anywhere and the other at a VW dealership.

Is the Volkswagen Gesture Empty?

One thousand dollars per car might not seem that grand a gesture to the people affected by VW’s deceit, but the company seems genuine about its effort to make things right.  At least, this was the message delivered by the head of the company and aimed at the people affected as well as the applicable governing bodies.

During the same speech, VW’s CEO stressed that the company is in discussions with several authorities – these being the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board – to continue its proposal regarding diesel emissions repairs.

Following approval by these authorities, the US repair plan can begin stages of its implementation.  This will join European repair plans which, after having been announced in November, are promised to be implemented this month.

The specifics of the repair plan have not yet been specified.  However, it is believed that the plans will involve the installation of catalytic converters in the affected cars.  This should place cars within the desired emissions spectrum, and not sacrifice much of the power and economy commonly associated with the company’s cars.

This may be able to fix the cars of displeased owners, but will it be enough to fix the company’s severely damaged reputation?  Time will tell.

Image credit: