Over the past several years we have seen examples of auto manufacturers’ treating their customers in less than totally honest ways. In 2015, the EPA discovered many diesel Volkswagen cars sold in the United States had illegal software installed that would detect when they were being tested and would alter the performance to improve test results. VW is still dealing with the fallout from that scandal, which involves billions of dollars in fines and a huge hit to its international reputation.
Now comes word from Subaru Corp that it has been doing flawed safety inspections on its vehicles for years. The surprising announcement was made by the company’s CEO and president, coming only a month after Nissan recalled one million cars because of poorly designed tests.
Subaru stated it would issue a report to the government this week about the inspection problems. They also said a recall in Japan is likely, with more than 255,000 vehicles involved.
Subaru apparently has been conducting incorrect inspections on its finished vehicles in Japan for 30 years. The workers were unaware in some cases that their inspection methods were incorrect. Workers who lacked enough experience to conduct final inspections borrowed seals from certain authorized workers and stamped official documents to show Subarus had passed the tests.
Both the Subaru and Nissan scandals have raised serious issues about the professionalism and ethics of the companies. Together with the VW emissions scandal, it is not surprising that many auto owners wonder if their manufacturer is being honest with them about the quality of their car.
VW Scandal and Others Will Reverberate for Years
The questions about auto manufacturer trustworthiness really got rolling in 2015 when the VW scandal broke. For years, VW had been making major efforts to sell diesel products in America, which could be seen in the huge marketing efforts that bragged about the cars’ low diesel emissions. But it was discovered that 482,000 diesel VWs in the U.S. and up to 11 million cars around the world may have been fitted with software ‘defeat devices’ that would get around government emissions tests.
Exactly how these defeat devices worked is still unclear. But EPA has said that the VW motors had software that could sense when a testing scenario was occurring by monitoring engine speed, operation, air pressure and even how the steering wheel was positioned.
When the cars were run under laboratory tests, the cheating device seems to have put the car into a low emission mode where the engine performed below standard power and performance. But once the cars were on the road, the engines would switch to regular operating mode. The bottom line was the diesel engines would emit nitrogen oxide pollutants at about 40 times the level allowed in the U.S.
VW America chief Michael Horn conceded in 2016 that the company ‘totally screwed up’ and has since been working to win back trust for the company. It is unclear when or if that will occur. In the meantime, there have been billions in liability lawsuits, including one that resulted in a $14.7 billion settlement involving the owners of the 475,000 diesel VWS in the U.S. affected by the scandal.
These high-profile scandals have many U.S. auto owners wondering if their manufacturer played straight with them, and this is not surprising. If you think your auto manufacturer may have cheated you, it is worth running your questions by the attorneys at Neale & Fhima today to see if you may have a case.
Has an Auto Manufacturer Treated You Dishonestly? Contact Us Today.
If you purchased or leased a vehicle from an auto manufacturer that has not treated you fairly – whether due to poor quality inspections, emissions test deceptions, selling you a lemon vehicle, etc. — you may be able to file a claim for damages. Neale & Fhima is an accomplished southern California law firm that can fight for your rights before the big auto manufacturers. Please call 949-661-1007 for a complimentary consultation today.