By on January 13, 2016


Officials from Volkswagen and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency met Wednesday for the first time to discuss the growing rift between the automaker and regulators on how to fix the automaker’s illegally polluting cars. An EPA spokeswoman issued the following statement:

“We appreciated the conversation with Volkswagen. We will continue to work toward a solution.”

Which, I know: It’s technically longer than a haiku, but 14 words still doesn’t say a lot — and yet it says so much.

Just 14 words to sum up whatever was said by Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at Wednesday’s meeting leaves open a lot of room for interpretation, and the EPA’s short statement underlines a curiously developing relationship between regulators and automaker.

Müller has publicly apologized several times — for misunderstanding the law, apparently — but he’s has been famously unflinching in fessing up too much, which was evident in November when they initially disagreed that their 3-liter cars were cheating. On the other end, the EPA has issued increasingly unfriendly statements since announcing in September that hundreds of thousands of cars were illegally polluting.

(Just listening to the September call when the EPA said Volkswagen admitted cheating in its 2-liter cars, to the November call when it said the 3-liter cars were cheating, to December’s deadline extension, to January’s lawsuit filing, to Wednesday’s 14-word statement, a souring relationship looks likely.)

On Monday, Volkswagen affirmed that it would right its wrong and that it would work with the EPA and CARB:

“We know we deeply disappointed our customers, the responsible government bodies, and the general public here in the US. I apologize for what went wrong at Volkswagen,” Müller said in a statement: “We are totally committed to making things right.”

An official from the EPA didn’t comment on the agency’s relationship with the automaker. Volkswagen didn’t immediately comment on the EPA’s statement.

Which says a lot.

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26 Comments on “EPA Releases A Haiku-sized Statement After Volkswagen Meeting...”

  • avatar

    Oh, to have been a fly on the wall

  • avatar

    How about you sell your vee dub stock?

    It’s about to get REAL!

    VW might not realize how “hardcore” this can get?

    I’ll Put it in perspective.

    If a small micro car shop that grosses half mill a year were to put a non oem cat on a car and get caught, they get fined 25,000 American bucks! VW just did like 1 million times that. Plus lied, cheated, stole and most likely a few other things in between. 250 billion in fines sounds fair.

    I nor YOU gets any leeway for anything on mistakes or blatant cheating when it involves govt. Let them BURN!

  • avatar

    VW will pay a big fine but in the overall picture they will survive, look at what the EPA could have fines other companies and what they ended up settle for. Not saying at all VW was right but this is about PR and VW will lose there but they will survive.

  • avatar

    My VW emissions-gate haiku, dedicated to TTAC

    Designed from the start

    To start “cheat” mode when tested

    Hand in cookie jar

  • avatar

    This reminds me of how Cold War nuclear arms negotions between the USA and the USSR would be described as “frank and business-like”… which meant that both sides cussed out and insulted the other, and absolutely nothing got accomplished.

    • 0 avatar

      VW does not have nuke. The analogy does not stand.

      • 0 avatar

        The EPA “does not have nuke” either. All EPA action is subject to political considerations, and this is an election year, with the possibility of a major political re-alignment. Volkswagen can hope to string the process along long enough for a political change far less amenable to environmental concerns, and EPA may well be under the gun to wrap it all up before the election. That’s a prescription for a “negotiated settlement”.

  • avatar

    The haikus are great. How about a few limericks? I’ll start…

    Those fine “German Engineered” rides
    Spew out clouds of nitrous oxides
    CEOs Teutonic
    Apologies vomit
    And spokesmen lose track of their lies!

  • avatar

    “We know we deeply disappointed our customers, the responsible government bodies, and the general public here in the US.”

    I’m pretty sure he should be leading his apology with “We are sorry we violated the law.” “Disappointment” isn’t something to start a DoJ case over, blatant legal violations and lying about it are.

    I’m fairly certain CARB, the EPA, and DoJ (not to mention the long-suffering dealer body) are well past “disappointment” at this juncture.

  • avatar

    If you think you have deeply disappointed customers, just wait until the things are fixed and the slugs have no power and no fuel economy! Unsaleable at any price! That’s when it will really hit the fan.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Well, Sirwired, I am think you hit on something; VW isn’t ready to confess yet. So they are still circling the boxing ring.

    VW may be confused. There was a defacto general amnesty for prominent entities until a year or two ago. They may be wondering why they aren’t being offered the same kind of deal.

    • 0 avatar

      jim brewer – “There was a defacto general amnesty for prominent entities until a year or two ago.”

      Would that happen to be “American” prominent entities?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Aaron – You’re right, those few words say so much.

    I wonder what the next step in this drama will be.

  • avatar

    I’m not big on haikus but I do like to rhyme.

    Dirty diesels in the streets
    Veedubs passed with cheats.
    CEO is a sonnovabeech
    Dr Piech ruined the balance sheets.

    Truth in engineering,
    there is no substitute,
    VW Corporate boards
    filled with prostitutes.

    EPA drooling at the potential fine,
    Ghost of the zee fuhrer screams,
    BUILD MORE NEIN??!!! NEIN??!!! NINE!!!

  • avatar

    How about this for a negotiating tactic:

    Indict the top executives for conspiracy to commit murder, and/or manslaughter and hold them in prison as a flight risk.

    Restart negotiations with new representatives of the corporation.

    Things should go briskly.

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