Volkswagen Scandal: Germans Comment on Emission Fraud

Volkswagen Scandal

Germans Comment on Emission Fraud

German media reported that auto manufacturer Volkswagen is accused of having manipulated diesel-fueled cars in the U.S. only to turn on emission controls when being tested. The next day, #Volkswagen and #dieselgate are trending on German Twitter. Twitter users and other netizens are appalled, but they are also a bit suspicious given the circumstances.

Wolfsburg VW-Werk

EnglishGerman

Call me naïve, maybe it’s even a question of age, but I am really shocked. #trust #Volkswagen

Nennt mich naiv, es ist vielleicht auch eine Altersfrage, aber mich schockt das echt. #vertrauen #Volkswagen

Says netizen Anja Blaensdorf on her Twitter account. She might be so upset because there three things that most Germans value: honesty, clever engineering and the environment. Finding out that one of the best known German car companies brashly manipulated tests in order to meet environmental standards is somewhat against the German mainstream, where finding smart ways of saving energy and protecting the environment are policy goals and are popular among most German citizens.

Not a Surprise

Many German netizens, however, are not surprised. They know that in an economic climate like this you can’t be too concerned with the environment and honesty. Twitter user @redackelteur therefore sarcastically comments on the Volkswagen news:

EnglishGerman

Well, well. #volkswagen cheated. Thank God that the other manufacturers are honest. #LoudLaughterInBackround

Soso. #volkswagen hat… betrogen. Gott sei Dank sind die anderen Hersteller ehrlich. #LautesLachenImHintergrund

Among those who say that they are not surprised at all are also those who even expected it something like this to happen. On the website of the weekly news magazine Die Zeit, internet user SeeleDesTigers says:

EnglishGerman

Then practically all other car companies would have to be punished as well: Cheating is very common and is practically a necessary part of the business model.

Dann müssten aber praktisch alle Autohersteller bestraft werden: Schummeln ist absolut üblich, gehört praktisch zwingend zum Geschäftmodell.

And netizen chabadoo reports:

EnglishGerman

The ADAC (the biggest German car club) already suspected [the cheating] years ago. Just like the American International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), who found out that the emission limits were exceeded when the testing procedure was changed.

Der ADAC hat es schon vor Jahren vermutet und auch die amerikanische Umweltorganisation International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) stellte fest, dass die Grenzwerte nicht mehr eingehalten werden wenn die Prüfprozedur verändert wurde.

Expecting other car manufacturers to cheat as well, some, like Vincent Weber, wonder why the American EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is accusing Volkswagen:

EnglishGerman

Now, the question arises how other car companies are treated and a) of course why something like that isn’t detected earlier and b) how closely they look at others.

Nun stellt sich doch automatisch die Frage, wie es bei den anderen Herstellern aussieht… und natürlich, wieso so etwas a) nicht früher auffällt und b) wie genau da bei wem hingeschaut wird.

To which chabadoo responds:

EnglishGerman

Only the Americans know why just now and why Volkswagen. …We should have a look at which American company we can nail in Europe. …

Warum ausgerechnet jetzt und warum ausgerechnet VW wissen nur die Amerikaner. (…) Wir sollten mal schauen welche amerikanische Firma wir in Europa dran kriegen können.(…)

For netizen stdout, there is only one answer to why the EPA is accusing the German car maker:

EnglishGerman

[That is] wiping out competitors US-style. When you cannot beat your opponent, sue him. I really wonder how these extremely inefficient American V8 engines can meet these “strict” emission norms. …The Americans are many things, but they are surely not environmentalists.

Konkurrenzbeseitigung a la USA-Style. Wenn du einen Gegner nicht besiegen kannst, verklage ihn. Ich frage mich wie die extrem ineffizienten amerikanischen V8 Motoren diese “strengen” Abgasnormen erfüllen konnten. (…) Die Amis sind vieles, aber ganz bestimmt nicht Umweltschützer.

The Expected Consequences

No matter why Volkswagen is being accused now, many think that this scandal will hit Volkswagen hard and will even have consequences for the entire German economy. Wall Street Journal reporter @HendrikVarnholt tweets:

EnglishGerman

The #Volkswagen emission scandal affects the whole German car industry.

Der Abgasskandal um #Volkswagen trifft die ganze deutsche Autoindustrie

Not so bad if the car companies are hit, some netizens say. Reader of the conservative newspaper Die Welt, Vodoeconomix even wishes for grave repercussions:

EnglishGerman

… Hopefully the sales [of diesel cars] will drop drastically and people will buy cars that are actually clean. They have been on the market for a long time.

(…) Hoffentlich geht der Absatz stark zurück, und die Leute kaufen sich wirklich saubere Autos. Die gibt es nämlich längst.

Netizen K. Lauer expects that the repercussions will not only be noticeable in sales, but also in the Volkswagen management and even in politics:

EnglishGerman

We will see what personal consequences… the federal state of Lower Saxony (where Volkswagen’s headquarters are located) on behalf of the citizens and as major shareholder will be pushed through. [We will also see] what significance democracy and rule of law still have in this country. …

Es bleibt abzuwarten, welche persönlichen Konsequenzen… das Land Niedersachsen in Vertretung des Volkes als Grossaktionär…durchsetzen wird. Welchen Stellenwert Demokratie und Rechtsstaatlichkeit in unserem Land noch besitzen. (…)

But in the end the consensus is that, as usual, nothing major will change. The netizens are used to reports that making money come first, environmental protection and honesty second for large companies. That is the reason why Journalist and Twitter user @drdrdietz adds the hashtag capitalism to his humorous comment:

EnglishGerman

What is always important is what the outcome in the end is!?! #volkswagen #capitalism #moremoremore

Wichtig ist ja immer, was hinten rauskommt!?! #volkswagen #kapitalismus #mehrmehrmehr

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