In a shocking turn of events that is sure to shake the automobile industry to its core, a Huntsville woman is suing the Volkswagen Group of America, and the company is scrambling to save face.
According to AL.com, Michelle Davis Redmond initiated a class action lawsuit in federal court against Volkswagen over their use of software designed to cheat U.S. emissions test.
Redmond, who purchased a 2012 Jetta TDi, claims the only reason she bought her vehicle was because it was sold to her as the “holy grail of automotive qualities: extremely high fuel efficiency and performance, with very low emissions.”
But last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that Volkswagen had rigged their diesel cars with software that would automatically switch to a cleaner operating mode when the car was undergoing emission tests.
Emission levels have been a major topic of conversation in America, as research is beginning to prove the harsh effects that automobiles can have on the environment.
According to CNN Money, the scandal exploded into a global crisis on Tuesday when Volkswagen said that an internal investigation found significant emissions discrepancies in more than 11 million diesel vehicles across the world.
The company’s stock price has plummeted, and CEO Martin Winterkorn is making his rounds on the apology circuit. Volkswagen has set aside a whopping $7.3 billion for recalls and damage control.
As for Redmond, she says she wanted to start a class action suit to protect her fellow Alabamians against a company she once thought was trustworthy.
“It just really made me question Volkswagen’s integrity. If they are willing to do that, what else would be willing to cover up?”
The suit alleges Volkswagen committed a litany of crimes: breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
It also notes that Redmond and her fellow Volkswagen owners will have to pay more in gas due to the decreased fuel efficiency, in addition to spending thousands more on a car they thought would save them money over time. Loose, missing, or damaged gas caps cause an estimated 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate annually, but it’s unclear how much money might be wasted by Volkswagon’s emissions discrepancies.
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation against Volkswagen. This may just be the beginning of an incomprehensible fall from grace for one of the largest automakers in the world.