By on January 17, 2017

Volkswagen Dealer Sign (Image: Rob Brewer/Flickr)

Three German judges claim that Volkswagen’s actions leading up to the diesel emissions scandal was akin to putting horse meat in lasagna.

Bloomberg reports that the comparison was made when a court in Hildesheim ordered the car manufacturer to buy back someone’s Skoda Yeti at full sticker price. The ruling was warranted, as VW intentionally committed fraud, the court said.

This decision, the second like it this month, could open the doors for other Europeans seeking reimbursement from the automaker. The Skoda Yeti contains the same 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder engine as VW vehicles sold in the U.S., though European owners haven’t seen the multi-billion-dollar buyback settlement enjoyed by American owners.

“The use of engine software is a decision with enormous economic ramifications, so it’s hardly believable that it was taken by a low-ranking developer,” the court said.

The case was also likened to sweetening wine with antifreeze — an unseemly practice that led to a European scandal in the 1980s.

Apparently, VW spokesman Nicolai Laude and the judges aren’t on the same page. Laude said that the decision goes against other courts, and believes the ruling will be overturned.

[Image: Rob Brewer/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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10 Comments on “Finally, an Automotive Scandal is Compared to Horse Meat Lasagna...”

  • avatar

    I think it’s closer to the antifreeze wine than the lasagna. IMO I wouldn’t necessarily balk at horse meat in something like that so long as it was disclosed on the ingredients list; it’s not like it’s harmful in and of itself. The scandal was more about “if you’re not telling us you put horse meat in here, what else have you done you’re not telling us about?” e.g. allergens, contamination, and so on.

    • 0 avatar

      The horse meat scandal involved the misrepresentation of horse meat as beef. Indeed, European frozen food manufacturers paid for beef, but received mislabeled horse from murky upstream supply chains.

      There was nothing necessarily wrong with the horse meat itself, but it was knowingly misrepresented by wholesalers. More than anything, the scandal exposed an alarming lack of traceability in the food supply chain.

  • avatar

    I hate VWs behavior on a lot of levels from Porsche to Audi too, mostly reliability, false advertising and price gauging. I love a lot of the engineering, though.

  • avatar

    But I thought horse meat was considered a delicacy in Europe?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know about “delicacy” (man do I hate that word) but it certainly isn’t frowned upon in some regions of Europe. The scandal was because it was in there yet labeled as “beef.” And when someone’s willing to pass off horse meat as beef, then the product is no longer trustworthy since you don’t know what else might be in there and it all has to go.

  • avatar

    Unless it can be proven that the main reason most people purchased a VW 2.0 diesel equipped vehicle was because it was a “clean diesel”, the basis of this lawsuit doesn’t make any sense. This whole thing is clearly about extracting money from VW shareholders and employees rather than about justice or the environment. If justice was the primary motivation, the focus should be putting the engineers and managers responsible for breaking the law in jail for a good long time. If the environment is the primary motivation, the focus should be on evaluating whether is actually is prudent to destroy thousands of functional cars to reduce emissions fractionally, when most of those cars will be replaced with new cars that may be cleaner but also require a huge amount of environmental resources to build.

  • avatar

    Well, I NEVER…..knowingly ate any horse meat!!! As for antifreeze in wine, while I sometimes like a little wine, I rarely ever drink it. The things unscrupulous – as in no moral scruples – people do to make money! Shocking, I tell ya, shocking!

  • avatar

    “The use of engine software is a decision with enormous economic ramifications, so it’s hardly believable that it was taken by a low-ranking developer,” the court said.

    I completely agree with this statement. There is no way senior managers at the helm had no idea about this.

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