VW recently grabbed more headlines with its latest attempt to move beyond the current emissions recall scandal. The company revealed that it would begin offering incentive packages to current VW owners in an attempt to make amends. Though the gesture is better than nothing, critics leapt on the news, pointing out how insignificant the gesture is relative to the harm suffered by VW owners.
So what is the offer exactly? VW says that the package being created for owners of impacted Volkswagen 2-liter turbo diesel vehicles will include a $500 gift card, $500 off another VW purchase and three years of roadside assistance. Yep, that’s it. VW evidently believes a few gift cards is enough to compensate owners for intentionally creating and installing software on vehicles designed to cheat emissions tests. The faulty software meant that while drivers and regulators believed the “clean diesel” engine was functioning properly, it was actually spewing up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere.
The incentive package is an attempt for VW to buy time, trying to appease angry VW owners who continue driving their faulty vehicles around waiting on a fix. Experts say that VW engineers are still working on repairs and have not yet found an acceptable alternative that fixes the problem while allowing the engines to pass emissions tests. The incentives are currently only offered to those who own VW vehicles. The company has said it expects to release similar incentive packages for owners of Audis caught up in the same recall.
Though some consumers may be appeased with the offer of a gift card, critics have lined up to slam the deal. Two U.S. Senators held a press conference denouncing the incentives, saying the company should go much further than it has. Specifically, the Senators argue that VW should do what’s right and offer every owner a buy-back option, giving the owners the chance to hand back the keys to the defective vehicles. For those owners who want to keep their vehicles, critics say the company should offer to provide financial compensation for lost resale value and lost fuel economy, as well as any other damages suffered.
As a reminder, the following are vehicles involved in the recall:
VW Jetta TDI (2009-2015)
VW Golf TDI (2010-2015)
VW Beetle TDI (2012-2015)
VW Passat TDI (2012-2015)
Source: “Volkswagen Gives Diesel Owners $1,000 in Gift Cards Ahead of Recall,” by Justin Hydge, published at Yahoo.com.