Is it any wonder that many millions of Americans view would-be exculpatory statements made by automotive executives at press conferences and before congressional bodies with a strong measure of cynicism?
How much backpedaling, restating, rationalizing and no-comment responses have American consumers grown accustomed to hearing over the years?
Well, a lot frankly, and relating to a mind-numbing array of industry shortcomings.
And what is patently chilling about many after-the-fact responses uttered by the designated talking heads of car companies is that they relate to very serious matters.
To things like unanticipated and sudden vehicle acceleration, for example. Faulty ignition switches that render steering problematic readily come to mind. So, too, do vehicle fires, exploding air bags, abysmal crash-test results and myriad other things.
In fact, there have been scores of millions of safety-related vehicle recalls prompted by accident concerns announced in the United States in recent years. Sadly, and based upon the clear signals that emerge in recounting that history, it is unlikely that any marked decrease in such recalls is forthcoming.
As this post is being written, Volkswagen finds itself embroiled in what is certainly one of the biggest auto scandals of all time.
"[H]eads will roll," says one auto industry insider commenting on reports that the automaker may have installed software geared to purposefully defraud pollution testers on as many as 11 million diesel-operated vehicles. That number comes via Volkswagen's own admission and starkly revises a far lower estimate of about 500,000 affected vehicles that was reported in the news late last week.
The company is now facing both regulatory sanctions and a criminal probe in the United States. Regulators and justice officials in other countries are also expected to take action.
It is obviously hard to commiserate with any business entity that is trying to cheat consumers.
And it is certainly easy to get on board with regulators overseeing vehicle makers in an effort to safeguard the public's safety and related interests.
Reportedly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could fine Volkswagen as much as $18 billion for its illegal actions.
Source: USA TODAY, "Volkswagen emission scandal widens: 11 million cars affected," Nathan Bomey, Sept. 22, 2015