VW India denies any wrong-doing... May even get away with a paltry fine!
Following our earlier story on Volkswagen emission scandal, VW India recently took a complete ‘U-turn’ from its earlier stand; in which the company had reportedly admitted of exceeding emission levels by some of its cars in India. In a recent development, VW India has now denied rigging the emission standards in India; according to a report published in the Times of India. VW India has reportedly rejected the automotive testing & certification agency ARAI’s findings; which found the emission levels to be 5 to 9 times higher than the legal limits of some of VW branded cars when they were tested on the road. VW India has also clarified in a statement that their cars are NOT equipped with a ‘defeat device’ & that their cars are not violating the Bharat stage IV (BS IV) norms in India, as per TOI report.
The question remains: ‘Are the BS IV emission norms too frail to breach by companies?’ OR ‘Is VW India just passing off the buck?’ One thing is clear though: It looks like; either the company or the testing agency is not telling the complete truth...!
Fit it, Cheat with it & Forget it:
In India, it is comparatively easier to get away with the malpractice of this kind. Why? It’s simply because there are no ‘clear’ guidelines to implement the rules & regulations. Take an example of the matter related to a popular ‘noodles’ brand. The testing agency found the company to be using a certain ingredient above its legal limits in its product. However, they neither could pursue with it nor they could apply hefty fines. What the company did was a simple ‘recall’ of the affected batch of its product and it continues to sell.
VW India also seems to have taken the similar route. The company has offered a ‘voluntary recall’ of all the affected cars to offer an ‘update’ to its product; which; it claims, is ‘in-line with the latest technical updates’ on its diesel engine sold in Europe. In other words, the company will just get away from its greater responsibility of protecting the environment by simply accepting its ‘mistake’ & offering a ‘voluntary recall’. In India, such matters die very quickly; as there is no one to follow them any further.
It is quite strange that VW’s global CEO apologised unconditionally to its customers worldwide on this issue, especially to those in US & Europe.
However, in India, the company refuses to take any blame. Why such double standards & drama / ‘nautanki’? Only VW India would know...!
Fines & Punishments:
According to section 182(a) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, “whoever alters the construction of the vehicle without prior approval of the competent authority is punishable with a fine of Rs. 1000/- for the 1st offence and Rs. 5,000/- for any subsequent offence”. If you calculate this with the minimum rate of Rs. 1000/- per car X 3,20,000 no. of cars = Rs. 32,00,00,000/-, it would amount to approx. Rupees Thirty two Core in fines alone. Is it enough?