Thursday, April 21, 2016
Automobile Industry Deceit and Denial -- Volkswagen and Mitsubishi
"Honesty is the best policy," so they tried to teach me as a child. That principle, however, seemingly has not caught on in the global auto industry. It seem that the industry, always blinded by hubris, lived in a world past. But 2015 is hardly anything like 1975, or even 2000. GM had its ignition switch, and an embarrassing and costly fix. Now Volkswagen is in superheated water, with alleged civil violations that could cost more than $42 million as well as buy backs totaling $9.4 billion. It seems that VW will have to get 600,000 vehicles off the road one way or another. the initial monies set aside for damage control pale what might be the realities. Currently individuals ware being investigated as well.
Mitsubishi, always running at the edge, is also in trouble with shares falling today 15% as the result of manipulating fuel economy tests.
What has happened is that government as regulator has become far stronger in the past few years. It began in the 1970s, but hardly took on the cast then as it exists today. Most consumers don't love their cars they way they once did, and thus are hardly as forgiving to an industry as in the past. Cars increasingly seen as appliances with expected performance ratings.