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Is the VW Scandal the Worst Manufacturer Car-tastrophe?

October 2, 2015

  • VW joins the lineup of manufacturers to come under scrutiny
  • Companies taken to court and fined over fatal flaws
  • Safety and pollution are top causes for concern

newspaper

It’s an interesting time for the automotive industry, with cars hitting the headlines for any number of reasons. From controversy surrounding the in-car smoking ban to the new Bond film blowing up millions of pounds, automobiles are a hot topic right now.

With VW coming under investigation regarding the recent emissions scandal, we thought it was time to take a look back at some of the most infamous car scandals in automotive history.

Toyota’s Turmoil

Back in 2002, Toyota and Lexus found themselves in the centre of an accelerating scandal which spanned seven years, before coming to a head in 2009. Their vehicles had been found to accelerate without prompting, and the car manufacturers were believed to be covering up dangerous faults.

It wasn’t until August 2009 when a Highway Patrol Officer was driving a Lexus ES350 and the brakes failed to work that things got really serious. The car accelerated out of control, bursting into flames and killing everyone involved. The devastating incident hit the headlines and propelled the problem into the public eye. Almost 10 million vehicles were recalled – and in the investigations that followed, misplaced weather floor-mats and sticky accelerator pedals were thought to be the causes of the crash. The Justice Department began investigating the company in 2010, and Toyota received a $1.2 billion fine.

Ford’s Failings

A photo posted by boss (@nuggetnlb) on

Storming onto the scene in 1971, the Ford Pinto was an instant hit – but just seven years after its debut, amid damning reports, 1.5 million Pintos were recalled. It was claimed that the American engineers were aware that the car could burst into flames following a rear-end crash but went ahead with production anyway. Deemed too expensive to fix ahead of production, Ford remained tight-lipped about the dangerous problems and 27 people died as a result. Despite the number of vehicles involved and Ford’s decision to cover up the fatal flaws, at a court case in 1980, the company was acquitted.

Total Recall?

As the fast-paced sphere of technology leaks into the automotive industry by bringing gadgets into the car, problems seem inevitable – something Fiat Chrysler experienced first-hand when they introduced touchscreens into some of their cars. It wasn’t long before computer hackers found a security flaw and worked out how to turn off the engines in moving vehicles – sparking a major cause for concern and leaving millions of Fiat Chrysler drivers vulnerable. The company released details of the cars affected and 1.4 million Chryslers that had been fitted with the uConnect system were recalled in the US. After being found guilty of failing to report injuries and even deaths, the manufacturer was issued a fine of $105 million.

Diesel Disaster

Last but not least is Volkswagen’s ongoing diesel scandal. VW’s recent romp into the limelight has been anything but positive – with the German car manufacturers finding themselves under scrutiny as details continue to emerge of their car emissions test coverup

At the end of last month, the BBC reported that 1.2m UK vehicles have been affected by the emissions scandal, with cars that fall under the VW brand – including SEAT and Skoda – also caught up in the crisis.

Following the revelations, CEO Martin Winterkorn has resigned his position – but with climate concerns being launched into the media’s eye at a time when speculation over diesel pumps drying up is rife, the future continues to look bleak for the European firm.

Are you concerned over the future of the automobile industry or looking to find out which are the most reliable car brands in 2015? Keep an eye on our blog for the latest news to emerge from the ever-changing industry.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.