By on December 7, 2015

ZDF Neo V-8 Engine

My German begins and ends with “nein” but I don’t need to know much to see what’s going on in this video.

According to the New York Times, sentiment in Germany is starting to build that American regulators are being unfairly harsh with Volkswagen in an effort to bolster domestic manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors and Ram.

The Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen in September that its cars used an illegal “defeat device” to skirt emissions laws. Since then, the automaker has been caught up in an international scandal that has cost the automaker billions and damaged the reputation for Germany’s largest exporter.

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller is set to deliver an interim report Thursday on the automaker’s internal investigation. According to AFP, up to 50 employees have come forward to talk about the widespread cheating scandal that the automaker admitted to after the EPA’s notification in September.

According to the New York Times, some in Germany have openly questioned whether the automaker and authorities could thoroughly investigate such a key component of that country’s economy.

“I don’t have confidence it will be a tough investigation,” Caren Lay, a leader of the Left Party, told the New York Times.

Even with the skepticism, some in Germany have envisioned Volkswagen and Germany, and the U.S. and its regulators ducking to their respective corners ahead of a perceived fight.

“There is this general notion that the U.S. is overstating the case in order to damage one of the major competitors of the U.S. carmakers,” Nils Stieglitz, a professor at the Frankfurt School of Finance, told the Gray Lady.

Which probably precipitated the video here, shown on German national TV, and characterizes Volkswagen’s deception as minor compared to “rolling coal” and women with guns and stuff. Which, sure — we’ll give you that.

But it’s hard to argue that regulators in the U.S. were the ones who installed the devices on cars around the world and then forced VW to lie about it for six years. Just a thought.

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138 Comments on “Germany is Starting To Resent That We Got Volkswagen In Trouble (Video)...”


  • avatar
    Tifighter

    Where’s the eating popcorn emoji when I need it?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Someone needs to tell the Germans that Volkswagen’s tiny US market share was no threat to the domestics – or anybody else for that matter.

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      After reading the headline in my email my first thought was “Volkswagen got Volkswagen in trouble, not the US”. After reading the article my second thought was your comment.

      • 0 avatar
        VCplayer

        To be fair, the guy might have been talking about the American automaker’s Euro operations, where VW has been shellacking them for a while now. The quote is a little ambiguous.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Sce to Aux
      GM’s and Ford’s rapidly decreasing market share in Germany and other Euro countries is a problem. Going by this German regulators are going to crawl over any Ford, GM and Jeep product, to see it meets regulations. Feeling they will not.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      SCE to AUX,
      I’d bet my balls that VW, including all VAG products would sell more vehicles than the numbers of commercial vehicles imported into the US if the chicken tax was dropped.

      So, how many midsizers would the US sell.

      VW is a threat to anyone in the auto industry. Your comment reeks of “look at us we are the greatest and are infallible”.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Big Al,

        VW tried to sell commercial vehicles in the US, and failed. Mercedes, on the other hand, is succeeding. Do you also blame the “chicken tax” for Mercedes’ success?

        The obvious difference between the two groups’ strategies is that MB tailored their product to the market, instead of just offering what they had in Europe, and they established an extensive and efficient support structure.

        I knew a guy with a VW commercial van back in the day, and he got stuck waiting weeks for parts on several occasions. He ditched it at a huge loss (nobody wanted it).
        I guess you blame the chicken tax for that?

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @heavy handle,
          From my experience, VW has lagged behind MB on Commericials, although you are now seeing more VW Cab Chassis variants and Vans.
          Does not help when their Crafter Van is a MB Van with a VW engine.
          No MB ,does not tailor it’s products for the US, like VW ,they are the same everywhere

          Scania and MAN which are sold here, have no relationship with any VW dealerships, although VW owns outright or has controlling stock in both.
          Scania and MAN have their own separate dealerships

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        VW isn’t a threat to anyone in the US market besides Mitsubishi.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        As the former owner of a VW product, and an American, I was bit I pressed with the engineering ended the hood of my Jetta.

        It was unreliable,ubrepairable, exoebisve, and poorly designed. The test of the world must be driving crap, if VWs are “typical”.

        Bad design: an interior wall of the transmission I had was insufficiently sturdy, and kept cracking. Transmission rebuild shoops would habe needed to x-ray the transmission in order to see cracks problem, so rebuilt transmissions wrre no better than the ones they replaced. Not only did VW sell cars with this serious defect, they continued to sell transmissions with this defect for the lifetime of the vehicle. Transmissions that last 50k miles — that’s Herman Engineering for you, I guess.

        Gor comparison, I recebtly replaced the gearshift joystick recently in my Prius, and it had alignment pegs! Alignment pegs, for a (rather large) interior switch, so that the replacement would sit exactly the same way as the one that came from the factory. My Jetta did not have that level of attention to detail engineered in to it. You were lucky to he able to reach the oil filter in the VW, much less have interior parts sit exactly where they’re supposed to. On a part that’s almost never replaced.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @ Big Al from Oz:

        My comment means somewhat the opposite. VW is a bit player in the US market, but with delusions of grandeur, and therefore, paranoia. US firms have no need to ruin them; VW is pretty good at that already.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          SCE of AUX,
          I do think VW is a little more than a bit player.

          VW has been on a mission to expand it’s footprint globally.

          VW is/was foolish for the emissions cheat, but still it appears everyone games regulations.

          I see this in the aviation industry. How people interpret was is and is not acceptable can be staggering to most of us.

          Business driven by profit seems to have the most “flexible” interpretations of regulations.

          In my job I also investigate “anomalies” in maintenance, etc. I look pending offenders views on how they view the intent of what they have read.

          Place regulations and controls on anyone and they will push the boundaries on what they deem is acceptable. It’s just some appear to be cowboys and make decisions on how they can profit from completing a job the fastest/cheapest.

          Regulations and controls should be kept simple and black and white. If we did this there would be less room for interpretation.

          Just look at our taxation systems around the world. Complex and left open to interpretation. Business also maximises how they pay taxes.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            Gamesmanship is one thing. The problem for VW is they went beyond that. This is like flopping in soccer to get calls vs. steroid use.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “There is this general notion that the U.S. is overstating the case in order to damage one of the major competitors of the U.S. carmakers,” Nils Stieglitz, a professor at the Frankfurt School of Finance, told the Gray Lady.

      HAHAHAHAH, indeed GM is tremblin’ in their boots at the thought of all the Touaregs and Golfs flying off lots.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Corey DL,
        Outside of Opel, GM is now a vey small player in Europe. VW does not fear GM, more European regulators

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          @RR

          You read my comment backwards. GM does not fear VW in the US. The US is not trying to “punish” VW in particular to make it easier for GM to sell cars.

          Aside from that, VW buyers who are put off by dieselgate would likely go to Subaru or Mazda anyway, not an American brand.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Corey DL,
            I know what you meant in the original post. VW are a minor player in the US, GM are a minor player in Europe and does not threaten VW.
            Germans and other Europeans are going to lump Dieselgate into the same category of Hysteria that afflicted Toyota in the US. , they are both large Foreign entities that affect US Manufacturers

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    Ich bin mit dem Vaterland on this one. Onkel Sam is on a smear campaign.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Onkel Sam was on a smear campaign against the trumped up Toyota UA too.

      I will say, though, that the unsolicited “research” into the VW emissions issue was started at a university back East, by rogue liberal democrats with an anti-oil agenda.

      The EPA was fat, dumb and happy with their arrangements with ALL automakers to do their own emissions and FE testing.

      The EPA is guilty of disinterest and that’s why those university researchers took such painstaking steps to reveal the negligence of the EPA.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @ HighDesertCat,
        Is going to be a nasty war.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ‘fraid so. Shock and awe……., and then kissy kissy make up, a token fine. All better.

          I really think the EPA was embarrassed by the findings of these researchers. It sure showed the whole world that the EPA was caught with their pants down, and bend over in the position.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Highdesertcat,
        What about the EcoSuck engines from Ford. What is their real life non-EPA FE on average? I’ve read that the 2.7 EcoThirst in a F-150 is getting around 15.6mpg in real life. That is not flogging the engine as well, just normal driving.

        This indicates that those EcoSuck engines are designed to pass EPA testing.

        Maybe the EPA should look at why the EcoBoost engines deliver such poor FE when not being test and driven normally.

        VW got shafted to a degree and I do believe their would be some spinning and pushing from the US manufacturers to bolster their position.

        I’d say the biggest moaners and whiners would be the UAW pushing the EPA in the background.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Big Al,

          Where did you read that? The road tests that I’ve read (in reputable online magazines) show that the EcoBoost 2.7 gets fantastic fuel economy for the amount of power it puts-out.

          I think part of the confusion is because very naive people think they will get the rated EPA mileage when hauling a full load. You know what they say: “you can’t fix stupid.” Maybe Ford could do a better job of explaining the relationship between the throttle pedal and fuel use, but I doubt it would help everyone.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            heavy handle,
            Here’s an interesting link.

            http://truckyeah.jalopnik.com/the-ford-f-150-ecoboost-engine-actually-kinda-sucks-sa-1678282081

            Just Google EcoBoost FE issues. What levels of pollutants are the EcoBoosts emitting with those levels of FE? I’d bet it would be as bad or worse than VW’s diesels.

  • avatar
    Paddan

    I am no fan of the EPA but the arrogance of VW is unreal.

    • 0 avatar
      caljn

      Yeah! Nertz to the EPA!
      Let’s have LA resemble Beijing again! And our rivers loaded with industrial sewage and free of life and with soap suds on top!
      Stupid EPA!

      • 0 avatar
        IndigoCoyote

        Have to agree with yo, caljn. If you spent time in LA as recently as the early 80s, you are definitely a “fan” of the EPA. As long as we live in a culture where corporations have been given so much power (and are required by their rules of existence to be essentially immoral), there has to be a counterbalance somewhere. “The Market” is NOT that counterbalance.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Property rights are. Much of the dumping that was once commonplace was sanctioned via state permits that overrode municipal concerns. Take the Cuyahoga River. Residents of Cleveland asked the Feds to override the state dumping permits over and over and they didn’t care. So they started cleaning it up on their own, the steel industry tanks and most of the polluters leave town. Eventually appearing to care about the environment became politically cool and the EPA was formed. They get the credit. Thanks!

          • 0 avatar
            caljn

            Was it the state overriding municipalities or the Fed overriding the state? Cleveland and their leaders have no one to blame but themselves for their last 40 years then.
            Either way, they magically “started cleaning it up on their own?” Really? What was the motivation? Altruism? Doubtful…

            The steel industry tanked long after Nixon’s EPA of 1970…and yes, lets go back before caring about the environment was cool with the unusable water, smoggy cities and open litter everywhere. I know you remember.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Give it a little bit of time, even an aggressive EPA can only fill so many cracks in the damn.

        The sheer weight of human presence ( supposed to hit 11 billion in the next 20-40 years )on this planet will do more damage faster than issues can be resolved.

  • avatar
    mike1dog

    This was some kind of satirical TV show, according to the New York Times link. So about as indicative of public opinion as Saturday Night Live. Of course, that doesn’t mean whoever produced it didn’t agree with it. I’d just point out it wasn’t the EPA who discovered that VW was cheating, it was an outside NGO who tested a car on the road and discovered the cheating.

  • avatar
    jkk6

    I recall reading somewhere that Hyundai/KIA Fine for fake mpg 100mil cash fine + 200mil credit for total of 300 mil was a record. Volkswagen upped them by 6 folds in a market where only 18 wheel truckers are allowed to use diesel gas for logistics purposes in a country that is a size of a continent. EPA isn’t playing softball anymore.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Are women incapable of controlling guns? What are you giving them sexism? just kidden
    Who cares what they think, they are the competition, they realize this, and see us the same. They build crappy little economy cars that can’t pass basic emissions standards while we buy V8s that they’re too oppressed to be able to enjoy on the large.

    Besides its satire, it’s funny.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      If you’re not a gun guy, YouTube videos of people playing with guns looks really hickish.

      I grew up around rural gun culture and don’t have a problem with hunting or gun ownership — but some of the stuff I see on YouTube is just hickish excess. (“Yee haw, bang bang, when can I get a license to hunt Democrats?”)

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        So to make the ROW think better of it we need to open firing ranges in Starbucks in NYC and require $1000 tuxedos. It really makes them (Germans) look like pansies when you put it that way.
        Which is cute I suppose.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @Hunmer:

          You don’t need to make the ROW think better of it. Impressing people was never the point — at least not in the hollars I used to know.

          Have your fun, but don’t be surprised if the ROW doesn’t want to join in, and thinks you’re a bunch of hicks.

          If that was my idea of a good time, I would never have left my home town…!

  • avatar
    callmeishmael

    Was VW actually so out of touch that it thought that it could get away with the cheat forever? And did it believe that there would be no consequences when the cheating was inevitably discovered?

    The only thing holding back VW sales in the US is VW. Over the years it managed to lose all of the virtues of the vehicles that put it on the map while picking up the vices of its even more overpriced VAG kindred.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      +1

      My father owned VWs, and they were simple, repairable, cheap and charming.

      When I owned a VW, it was complex, expensive, unrepairable, charming, and unreliable.

      That’s the progress VW made from 1975-2001. And clearly, they’ve regressed from 2001-2015, since they had to cheat just to get government rubber stamps.

      After VW ownership, I’m very happy with my Toyotas. They aren’t particularly charming, but they’re dependable, reasonably priced, and very much the right tool for the job.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    TTAC: Would love to have a piece on being a VW dealer in 2015 or some other inside dirt as such.

  • avatar
    NickS

    VERY typical German reaction when getting called out on some malfeasance: instead of speaking to the criticism, fire back on your opponent’s weaknesses. I don’t usually generalize, but I have worked with many Germans and this became apparent.

    Plus, @0:56′ — guy in a bikini? Ew.

  • avatar
    qwerty shrdlu

    They shouldn’t have bombed Peal Harbor.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …“There is this general notion that the U.S. is overstating the case in order to damage one of the major competitors of the U.S. carmakers…

    Major competitors?

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    I haven’t laughed that hard since I was a little girl.

  • avatar
    brn

    The video was rather juvenile. It doesn’t backup anyone’s point. It only manages to polarize.

  • avatar
    Duaney

    EPA would have come down hard on ANY manufacturer doing the same thing.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I remember just enough German from HS to at first get outraged by this. But then I got to the “14L” remark and I realized I’d been had.

    Also, mad props to whoever has a RCSB Ram with a RamBox. That’s gonna be on Curbside Classic in 2040.

  • avatar
    ant

    VW’s problem is that they sell cars that break down more often than other OEMs. Then, they charge more for parts as well.

    From where I sit, they need to fix that, then struggle for ten years waiting for people to trust them.

    Otherwise, they’re toast, EPA problems nonwithstanding.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “VW’s problem is that they sell cars that break down more often than other OEMs. Then, they charge more for parts as well.”

      True in the US.

      But in Germany, parts are often replaced before they fail, like we replace rubber timing belts on a maintenance schedule for our cars in the US.

      This pre-emptive part replacement is not cheap of course, but it does keep European cars running safer longer.

      In America, we replace parts after they fail, i.e. Disc brake rotors, bearings, bushings, master brake cylinders, head gaskets, seals, etc.

      When my buddy had his 90K tune-up maintenance done on his BMW 320i, the BMW shop replaced things like all the fluids, O2 sensor, shimmed the struts, replaced the head gasket, replaced the intake and exhaust manifold gaskets after decarbonizing, replaced the spark plugs, and probably a lot more as listed on the factory maintenance checklist for that mileage tune-up.

      Different approach to maintenance and repair.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        highdesertcat, one huge difference is that US customers depend on being able to drive their car most days of the year for stop-and-go commuting, hauling kids to school and school events, shopping, etc. The typical American schedule doesn’t include spare time necessary to do German preventative maintenance. Most other OEMs design cars to work with American lives, but the Germans insist that the US customer change to their lives to work with German cars.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @George B,
          Same outside US, VW no worse than others I e increasing sales

        • 0 avatar
          dantes_inferno

          > one huge difference is that US customers depend on being able to drive their car most days of the year for stop-and-go commuting, hauling kids to school and school events, shopping, etc.

          Not to mention texting, reading, and all other forms of distracted driving.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @dante inferno,
            Same across the world

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            @RobertRyan:
            @dante inferno,
            Same across the world

            True. But based on several years of direct observation, the U.S. has elevated distracted driving to an art form. And not in a good way.

        • 0 avatar
          dantes_inferno

          > The typical American schedule doesn’t include spare time necessary to do German preventative maintenance.

          Therein lies the problem – trying to “keep up with the Joneses”, and other social activities because some Madison Avenue marketdroids encourage such behavior by fanning the flames of rampant consumerism through their constantly present multi-medium advertisements.

          Or in the words of the late, great George Carlin:

          “Consumption. This is the new national pastime. **** baseball, it’s consumption, the only true, lasting American value that’s left . . . buying things . . . People spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need . . . So they can max out their credit cards and spend the rest of their lives paying 18 percent interest on something that cost $12.50. And they didn’t like it when they got it home anyway. Not too bright, folks, not too ****in’ bright.”

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Another problem, I think, is the increase in Leased and Program vehicles entering the used-car market. No one ever takes care of those vehicles.

            When my brothers were still in the business, they took in Rental, Fleet, off-Lease, and Program cars, and IIRC NONE (that’s right NONE) of them had ever been serviced for the duration they had been in service.

      • 0 avatar
        slap

        We also put alot more miles on our cars. 90K miles would be an average amount of miles for a 12+ year old car in Europe.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          90K for 12yrs? Wow. But I bet the GIs still stationed in Europe today drive more than that, while there.

          Our cars in my region of the US generally have ~80K or more on them after only four years of ownership.

          Part of the reason is of course the enormous distances we have to cover when living in the expanse that is the Great Southwest of the US.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        highdesertcat, point taken about ensuring cars last longer. However, that only reinforces the notion that German cars need more maintenance that other cars sold in the US. In addition, the pricing on the parts is excessive.

        Higher cost and more maintenance doesn’t do VW well here and shouldn’t elsewhere either.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Brn, I agree with you. I’m not a VW fan. Bought one new (Quantum) and bought one used (Audi 4000). Didn’t care for either. Gave them to my kids and they didn’t care for them either.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Gals with guns! Monster trucks rollin’ coal! Now that’s the America I luuvvv. And it’ll make the Chermans think twice the next time they get to craving lebensraum.

  • avatar
    ajla

    It is a good thing for Germany that their country doesn’t have any negative associations for people to bring up.

    • 0 avatar
      PCP

      Going back 75 years will definitely bring back negative associations. Going back even further and we could start talking about the native Americans, for instance.
      What is of concern is today. I sorta see more negative associations ’bout Murricans than Germans right now – of course I’m biased, even if not German myself. Anyway, Volkswagen is not Germany. They have cheated, got caught and will have to clean up the mess.
      Finally, the movie, while factually correct, was shown on a satirical show at approx. 10PM. This is not exactly the German news. We don’t take Fox TV too seriously neither…

  • avatar

    USA also tried to poison Europeans and their colonies with GM foods some time ago. But Europeans bravely rejected to eat anything GM or bionic in nature.

    I would also point to WWII where America cowardly bombed German cities to destroy German superior industry to eliminate competition to American multinationals after WWII, and in general arranged new world order for America to become a post war Third Reich (or Third Rome in Russki). USA essentially robbed Germans of their empire and forced American way of life on sophisticated Europeans who will despise us for that forever.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I don’t think those big breasted, gun-toting, coal rolling American women are too favorable of the European way of life either!

      • 0 avatar

        Europeans can choose Shariat as an alternative to American way. Heck even American millenias despise American way of life. Most Europeans become pagans and are ripe for the new exciting religion which is coming on their way. We just might see Islamic states forming in Europe in our life time. Romans also could not imagine that they will become Christians.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          “Europeans can choose Shariat”

          Just Hitlerjugend and Bund Deutscher Mädel by another name.

          Funny how things play out.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Europeans can choose Shariat as an alternative to American way. ”

          Right, of course they will.

        • 0 avatar
          PCP

          Funny, when I think of Roman decadency I rather look to Murrica. Points of view can differ, I guess. Hadn’t realized it’s either Shariat or Murrican Way, though. Oh wait, the world is black and white, forgot that. May your God help us out.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            You guys need to start using deodorant. Seriously.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Right, because Europeans – you know, folks used to things like democracy, affluence and religious freedom – will toss it all away so they can live like folks do in, say, Iran.

            That’s how attractive the “sharia lifestyle” is. People who aren’t Muslim just can’t wait to ride that train!

    • 0 avatar
      PCP

      That’s really too bad. I was so longing for that healthy Murrican food and a BFI of >35. Well I guess I’ll have to board a plane and come over. Oh no, wait a minute, they might not even let me in. That’s really too bad…

      BTW, don’t take too much pride in what your grand parents did 70 years ago (for which Europe obviously is still thankful) and rather look at your own doings…

  • avatar
    matador

    VW has torpedoed their own ship. I own an older Audi, and am pretty happy with it. If you asked me 6 months ago, I would have told you that I’d consider another.

    Today, it’s not likely. I may own another older, used one. But, VAG isn’t getting any money from me. They don’t make anything if I purchase a 2004 A6.

    I can forgive the cheating scandal to a certain degree, but to show this amount of contempt is not something that I can support.

    That, and it’s not like VW or Audi is synonymous with “Quality”

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    If VW collapses and trashes the German economy an er’ything to where the only jobs are driving taxis it’ll give a whole new meaning to Uber Mensch.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “Ve vere victims at Versailles!”

    “Ze Poles vere ready to invade us, so we sent in ze whole Werhmacht!”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The Gleiwitz incident was certainly staged but the Versailles Treaty was setting up the next war and its authors knew it. You can certainly feel free to believe what you like but because of the treaty outside of financial obligations the Kaiser was forced to abdicate which led to internal chaos. Versailles -> German Revolution later Weimar gov’t -> Kaiser abdicates -> 1919 Spartacist uprising -> Rise of Freikorps -> Rise of AH -> Creation of SA -> Creation of SS -> 1933 election -> Freikorps folded into SA & SS -> Night of Long Knives and so on. You don’t have any of these events without a Kaiser abdicating and you don’t have that without Versailles.

      http://www.tenfactsabout.co.uk/0002armistice.htm

      http://thetreatyofversaillesanditseffec.weebly.com/german-chaos–hitler.html

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartacist_uprising

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freikorps

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Agreed 100% with the assessment of Versailles, but the point is that the Germans were far from being victims. You don’t invade other countries for no good reason and lose the war – TWICE – and not pay a price.

      • 0 avatar
        VCplayer

        @28-Cars-Later

        I disagree with your timeline there. The Kaiser was effectively a figurehead after 1915, with Hindenburg and Ludendorff running the government with no real input from him. The Versailles treaty actually called for the Kaiser to be prosecuted by the Entente for war crimes, but he had already been forced to abdicate by that point.

        Wilhelm’s abdication was caused by a number of factors, but the most immediate was the Kiel mutiny and the revolution that it inspired. The Entente leaders, especially President Wilson, wanted the German government to become more democratic before they proceeded to negotiations, so a change was probably going to happen anyways, but the Kaiser had lost the support of both the German public and—more importantly—the military by that point.

        The German monarchy was based on a form of government that was increasingly ineffective in 20th century Europe, and probably lasted as long as it did only due to the economic success of the newly unified German state. In the long term, it was going to face many of the same challenges that doomed the Russian Tsar and the Hapsburg Emperor.

        There wasn’t anything inevitable about the Nazi’s rise to power either. The Versailles treaty was awful, but perhaps understandable given what Germany had put France through over the previous four years. It wasn’t a good idea, and Wilson made this point abundantly clear to both the British and French. Germany could have moved past the treaty, and indeed if the global economy hadn’t fallen apart when it did, perhaps it could have.

        Blaming World War II on the Kaiser’s abdication though is a stretch. Germany had a functioning government for over a decade, and was actually becoming very successful in the second half of the 20s. The desperation caused by the Depression coupled with the virulent emotions after the war caused the German people to turn to the Nazis for answers—and they paid a heavy price for that mistake.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah, I basically came here to post “uh oh, Germans think we’re being to hard on them, this is familiar.” I always thought the Hungarians got it much, much worse after the first World War (Treaty of Trianon), but I may be biased.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            Yeah, pretty much everyone but the Poles and Romanians got the short end of the stick after the war. Arguably Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia came off okay, but neither of those nations even exist today, so that wasn’t a great success either. Somehow the Hungarians get lumped into the “aggressors” crowd while the other Austro-Hungarian nations managed to come off as victims.

            World War I could be pretty accurately described as a war no one really won. The “victors” just got to put off their problems until the 30s.

  • avatar

    Der zeinen mit keinen umph auf den motorbileiben im den superautodromekaneishe das de leiben ein zeinen keinen schpeinen ur das unter schpunter im aufderheide. Das kraut pusch einen mit himmelfarben unt schlag! Oofter dei schufter schlufter!

    What a relief to get that off my chest!

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    I find the arrogance of the Germans simply amazing.

  • avatar
    Paco Cornholio

    Joe: Fritz, you can’t sell the dirty Passat here any more. It puts out 0.67 gm/km of NOx.

    Fritz: Isn’t it legal to buy a Tier 1-designated medium duty diesel truck that emits 1.12 gm/km?

    Joe: Hell, yeah, Fritz. It’s a free country.

    Fritz: And you can use this truck to pick up groceries and take your cornfed brats to school?

    Joe: Again: Hell, yeah, Fritz. And a whole freaking lot of us do just that.

    Fritz: Und how do you justify this contradiction, my friend?

    Joe (soon to be Jose): USA! USA! USA!

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Yup, that’s what the video is trying to say

      Not surprising that it doesn’t resonate with an American audience…

      For the record, I think rolling coal is lame, and I take the Prius grocery shopping.

  • avatar
    George B

    My theory is that the Germans don’t get the difference between failing to meet a numerical target within what is tolerated vs. doing something explicitly prohibited. Exceeding the speed limit by 5 mph is illegal, but generally tolerated. Turning right on red when a sign explicitly says “no right turn on red” is not. Programming the engine to perform especially well under the conditions that occur during the EPA test cycle may be tolerated if disclosed. In contrast, programming the engine act completely differently in the laboratory than rolling down a road is a clear “don’t do that” defeat device violation, not an over-the-line, but within “tolerance” condition that is allowed.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      “Programming the engine to perform especially well under the conditions that occur during the EPA test cycle may be tolerated if disclosed”

      Definitely not. You are saying you are cheating. They will want to know how it goes on a normal road test?

  • avatar
    acesfull

    Is that a shot of the springhouse at The Greenbrier at ~:24? Obscure…

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Bob Lutz wrote the single most cogent analysis I’ve read on the VW scandal (in the current Road & Track). It’s worth a read. The upshot is that when a dictator runs things and makes dictator types of threats, ethics tends to fall by the wayside. Now, where have I seen this before…

  • avatar
    bunkie

    One more thing. There was an old joke. It needs a bit of background to make sense. The original VW was known as the KDF-Wagen (KDF = strength through joy).

    A worker at the KDF-Wagen factory, desiring his own KDF-Wagen, had a plan to steal one part every day. At the end of this process, he assembled all the parts and ended up with a MK IV Panzer.

    It’s not really a joke as KDF-Wagens were purchased by buying stamps. When your had filled your stamp book, you were supposed to be able to pick up your car at the factory. As far as I know, no one managed to do this as the factory was, indeed, using that money to build war materiel.

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    FULL DISCLOSURE. I myself am German, and am writing this post from Germany.

    1. The linked video is a clip from a late night show on German television. Think The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert etc. In this clip, they’re making fun of the fact that Americans and the US authorities want to punish VW for emissions that are too high while at the same time these rolling coal mines in the shape of trucks as well as deadly firearms seem to be widely tolerated. I guess this could be called a fair point, but again, it’s supposed to be satirical, so do not take this too seriously.

    2. In the German media, people are astonished about the fact that the EPA threatens VW with horrendous penalties while GM recently got away by paying “only” 900 million dollars after some brakes or other components on GM products were not working properly and people actually DIED as a result. From a German perspective, one doubts the proportionality of potential penalties against VW when GM got off the hook so easily (relatively speaking).

    3. The fact that Germans like to shift the blame to others when problems arise is unfortunately true. To a certain extent, this is a societal control mechanism with which the members of German society keep each other on their toes, particularly at the workplace, but frequently, it does not exactly create the coziest social atmosphere.

    EDIT:

    I should perhaps add another important point:

    In spite of what I said above, the vast majority of Germans think that VW, at the end of the day, really have no one else to blame for this whole mess but themselves and their insufficient corporate procedures.
    Most Germans are flabbergasted that a scandal such as the current one could actually happen, and many German VW customers — just like their counterparts in other countries — feel cheated.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Your English is excellent! Good job.

      • 0 avatar
        PriusV16

        Thanks for the kind words.

        I guess that listening to AFN Radio for more than 20 years (initially just for the great AOR music they were playing and that you can’t hear on any German radio station) is finally paying off. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Re: point 2 We have no TUV. The EPA relies on self-policing backed up by the threat of whopping big fines. If they were told to conduct testing directly, would they have the capability to do it? I wouldn’t bet on it in less than a decade – opinion only, based on observing our government in action. Given this structuring, the worst crime is not failing parts leading to accidents, injury and death. It is dishonest self-policing.
      If we wanted to transition to independent verification, a consortium teaming IIHS and CR would probably be a safer bet than getting the EPA to do it. There are tech-oriented quangos like SWRI, Battelle, Lincoln Labs and Miter Corp as examples and maybe consortium members.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Point 2: Keep in mind that the US Governmental Bureaucracy is a little weird. Not all agencies are created equal. Some are pretty much jokes that can do little more than send nagging letters with little to know enforcement ability. Others make citizens and corporations alike quake in their boots.

      The GM issue was under the purview of the NHTSA. The NHTSA isn’t entirely a paper tiger, but it’s enforcement powers are limited. $900M is about the limit of what it’s allowed to fine.

      VW unfortunately has run afoul of the EPA. The enforcement powers granted to the EPA are extraordinary in American Governance. Without getting to too many details, this was the last agency that VW wanted to butt heads with in America.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Point 1: Rolling Coal. This exposes an interesting limit to EPA enforcement. The EPA regulates and has enforcement powers over US Companies, States, local Governments, and in some cases individual land owners. It has been granted minimal enforcement powers over regular individuals and their possessions.

      What this means is that in the US no company could even dream of selling a truck like that. But after the sale, the individual can modify their truck to roll coal in clear violation of the Clean Air Act and EPA agents won’t kick in the door. Instead, the Federal Government has seen fit to delegate such enforcement to the states. Some states like California take this seriously; I would be shocked to see a truck rolling coal in California. Others, like Oklahoma, slough off enforcement entirely. I can guarantee that all those videos of trucks rolling coal sport license plates from non-enforcement states like Oklahoma or most of Indiana.

      I understand that to a German, the US is a little strange and confusing.

      • 0 avatar
        VCplayer

        The other thing about rolling coal is it’s actually pretty rare as near as I can tell. I travel through the rural south pretty often, and I’ve only ever seen one truck that was even set up for it. Most states can issue citations for dark exhaust, but enforcement is lax in most places.

        Illinois was considering a $5,000 fine for rolling coal, I don’t know if the legislation passed though. It needs to be illegal everywhere, but it also isn’t really a big deal to 99% of the population.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          I see someone doing it in the Toledo area once in a while, but it’s more commom, at least it was until recently, to see GE built locomotives spewing “Rolling Coal” levels of smoke while passing through the area. I haven’t seen one that bad in a couple of years now, but still see lots of both GE and EMD locos that definitely aren’t clean at all. I would say it’s a bigger problem than pickups “rolling coal” is.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Thank you – that actually helps shine light on the video.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    The Germans make a good point about America’s double standards. While we demand diesel cars run cleaner than a baby’s breath, when it comes to “light trucks.” anything goes. Every safety and emissions standard is relaxed for them, as if they were agricultural implements used in remote areas and limited numbers, not the primary choice for common commuters that they really are.

    The second point is valid, too. though hard to prove. The health damage of ozone pollution is realm, but hard to quantify. Its easier to name and count those killed or maimed by bad air bags and ignition switches.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      How does anything go for light trucks? Current light truck (2500-3500) diesels are nearly $10,000 options with more unreliable components than ever, if a little dirt gets past the fuel filter your going to spring for new injectors, and it’s not a secret how much those cost.
      These trucks are straddled with DEF fluid tanks just like all the other diesels.


      “as if they were agricultural implements used in remote areas and limited numbers”

      When’s the last time you bought a diesel tractor, they’re all straddled with emissions equipment now as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        That, along with other factors, seems to be why my father isn’t interested in anything newer than an interim Tier IV machine–right now, we’re toying with replacing our two 45-year-old “toy tractors” with a single 20-year-old “large utility” (JD 6000 Series) that can actually run the rake all day without overheating.

        I do not oppose the use of DEF or other tech to reduce diesel emissions, but I understand the frustration a lot of farmers feel from the increased financial burden that they “have” to pay. So in the interest of not letting tempers flare up unnecessarily, I don’t take them to task on it.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      I think it’s important to understand that trucks aren’t being given the leeway they used to have anymore. Also, exceptions for trucks have tended to be more about fuel economy, which despite its similarity is a completely different issue.

      The difference with GM has always been that GM didn’t intentionally design a malfunctioning key lock, and as far as anyone can tell didn’t intentionally cover it up either. They were fined, IIRC, the maximum they could be under the law, mostly because of the incompetence they displayed in realizing that hey had created a huge problem.

      Edit: Pretty sure trucks don’t have any kind of exemptions from safety equipment any more either.

  • avatar
    Jasper2

    Is EPA also responsible for debunking Vee Dubbayou’s solution to “fix” the problem? Or is the “fix” just another type of pollution?? Ist EPA auch zur Entlarvung Vee Dubbayou Lösung zu “reparieren” das Problem verantwortlich? Oder ist der “Fix” nur eine andere Art von Verschmutzung ??

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