In yet another chapter in the VW emissions saga, the New York Times reports that the FBI has arrested Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt, who was the chief emissions compliance officer for VW in the U.S. Schmidt has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. The Times characterizes Schmidt's arrest as an "escalation" of the criminal investigation against VW.
Millions of diesel VWs were affected.
On April 26 last year, following news of the scandal, we wrote about the subject in a blog post titled "untruth in advertising," in which we pointed out the paradox in VW's slogan ("truth in engineering"), a slogan used to sell VW's Audi vehicles.
VW's long advertising history includes the iconic Beetle. One of the Beetle's ads includes this headline: "That's how many times we inspect a Volkswagen." Such a headline seems ironic today, given that VW is accused of having deliberately cheated consumers (and the government) on its emissions inspection tests.
Not only did this cheat consumers in their purchase of vehicles as advertised, but it may also have an impact in terms of environmental and human health.
Many people may die prematurely because of VW's fraud.
All told, at least 11 million VW diesels were affected by the emissions scandal, meaning that all of these vehicles are much less emissions-friendly than the company claimed them to be.
One of the more troubling aspects of this saga is the study published in Environmental Research Letters, which indicates that an estimated 60 people would die prematurely as a direct result of VW's emissions cheat.