Can Volkswagen, the biggest carmaker in the world by volume, handle another scandal? Seems they have no choice.
After 2015’s #dieselgate, where they were outed for manipulating tests on around 11 million cars worldwide to make it appear they met air emissions requirements, it appears they are going to have to try and save face once again.
Here’s the deal this time: VW has been accused of co-funding a think tank to carry out experiments in which monkeys and humans breathed in car fumes for hours at a time, reports The Guardian:
Initially reported in the New York Times, the tests, carried out in May 2015 by the New Mexico-based Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI), involved locking 10 Java monkeys in small airtight chambers for four hours at a time. The animals were left to watch cartoons as they breathed in diesel fumes from a VW Beetle.
In a second round of tests, the animals were forced to breathe in the fumes of a Ford F-250 used for the purposes of comparison, because the car was an older model with apparently less sophisticated filter technology.
As if making the monkeys watch cartoons somehow makes it better.
The effects were so bad that the monkeys were “subsequently anaesthetised and intubated, so their blood could be examined for inflammatory markers”. Their lungs were then washed out and bronchial tubes examined.
Not a good look, especially since the automobile maker is still dealing with court cases concerning #dieselgate.
The monkey testing was only half of it:
[T]he experiments were also carried out on 25 young and healthy human beings.
Carried out at an institute of the University Clinic Aachen, it involved the group having to “breath in varying different concentrations of nitric oxide after which they were physically examined for any side-effects”:
The ultimate aim of the tests was to prove that the pollutant load of nitrogen oxide car emissions from diesel motors had measurably decreased, thanks to modern cleaning technology.
On Monday, the company placed the blame on a “small internal group” that had “mistakenly” pushed for the tests to be carried out. Mistakenly? Hmph.
Hans Dieter Pötsch, the chair of VW’s supervisory board since 2015, said VW would be “strongly distancing” itself from the allegations, insisting the practices could not be traced back to the company:
It is now up to VW’s management board to launch a probe following the supervisory board’s recommendation. Reuters reported today that Bernd Osterloh, boss of the company’s works council who also sits on the supervisory board, also wants a detailed investigation into the scandal.
Now, not only has VW been accused of trying to damage the environment as a whole, but openly supported animal and human testing?
Oh dear, it appears the demonisation of diesel continues.
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