The Dutch market watchdog known as “The Authority for Consumer & Markets” has fined Volkswagen AG €450,000 (~$534,000) for its use of misleading advertisements in the country between 2009 and 2015 relating to diesel cars.
In other words, all of the Volkswagen advertisements shown in the country depicting the company’s diesel cars as being “environmentally friendly” have been determined to have misled consumers there.
While €450,000 doesn’t sound like much of fine for a company that possesses the sorts of revenue streams that Volkswagen AG does, it’s noteworthy here that the fine represents the maximum that The Authority for Consumer & Markets (ACM) could impose for the charges, according to Reuters.
The charges, of course, relate to Volkswagen’s use of illegal “defeat devices” — illegal software designed to game the emissions testing protocols of regulators in the European Union so as to allow real-world emissions levels well above those that are legal. The precedent set here, also, is that gaming the system will be punished. It could help to keep auto execs from thinking that it’s “logical” to try to cheat the system.
Its noteworthy here, however, that the European Union’s vehicle emissions testing protocols are so full of holes as is, and so extensively gamed in legal ways, that taking things a step further as Volkswagen did (and many others as well) represents an incredible degree of arrogance.
Company execs were quite literally making decisions that have killed a great many people while apparently assuming that they could get away with it forever. Considering that most execs now seem likely to get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, perhaps they were right.
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