VW Apologizes Again, Tries to Distract Us With Beetles

Posted by: Matt Iasenzaniro onNovember 22nd, 2015


Did you come here to read about the two new trims of Beetle or did you come here to hear about VW sweating on stage in LA? Doesn’t matter, you’re gonna be disappointed.

Michael Horn (President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America), is the most human speaker at most of the shows I’ve been to. The guy who, despite reading from a prompter like the rest, feels like he’s speaking his own words. He cracks jokes that make you smile, not groan, and it never feels like he’s trying to put a spin on things. So when he got on stage and addressed Dieselgate, there was no fear, no fidgeting and no fluff. He acknowledged that it’s a big deal, he took responsibility for it, he apologized and throughout the whole thing he maintained that a solution would be found. Honestly, when something goes wrong at my day job, that’s exactly what I want. “I made a mistake, let’s fix it, and then let’s figure out if we can prevent it from happening again”. Of course VW doesn’t have the luxury of finger-pointing and throwing others under the bus like my coworkers do so they didn’t really have a choice. Ah well.

Full disclosure, I have a Golf R on order and I don’t plan on walking away from it. I don’t care about this scandal, at least not to the extent that some people are claiming to. I’m a Formula 1 fan, I fully expect manufacturers to take whatever regulations they’re given and do whatever it takes to beat them without being caught. I would be blown away if every other manufacturer wasn’t doing something similar. Personally, I think emissions regulations are too strict. You’ve got some of the smartest people in the world engineering these vehicles and some of the dumbest creating legislation around them. If these guys can’t meet consumer expectations and regulations then the regulations need to be reworked. The automotive industry is one of the few where I think consumer expectations are lower than they could be. Watch 90% of people test driving new cars and, I promise you’ll catch yourself smiling along with them as they repeat “That’s so cool!” at each and every feature their existing vehicle doesn’t have.

Now please don’t think I’m a climate change denier or that I don’t understand the impact of vehicles on the environment. I’m not trying to say that vehicles should not be getting consistently more efficient, my problem is that they ARE getting more efficient, it’s just not fast enough for some people. Fuel efficiency is and always will be a selling point for vehicles. Because of this, manufacturers will spend loads of money attempting to make their vehicles as green as possible while still being as fun, luxurious or safe as people want. Isn’t that the goal here? Why do they need extra motivation?

I dunno. I understand why this situation is big news, but I honestly think most people who are legitimately angry either don’t fully understand the impact – both of the emissions themselves and fixing them – or suffer from “I need something to be outraged about” syndrome. I hope VW makes it out of this alive, because they make fantastic cars and it would be a shame to lose them.

Oh, right, they also announced the Dune and Denim variants of the Beetle and brought out the Dune Beetle, which looks just like the first concept we covered in Detroit back in 2014. I’m sure if you cared about those you skipped right to the pictures anyway.

When he’s not busy writing about cars or travelling the auto show circuit, he’s reviewing apps and video games related to the automotive world. In his spare time, Matt is a motorcycle enthusiast, trying not to kill himself riding along with the crazy local drivers. He is also a weekly contributor in the Motor Mondays segment on News Talk 770.

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