Follow by Email

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Volkswagen Apologizes for Diesel Fiasco at 2016 Passat Reveal



Timing is everything in this world. That could not be more true than in the news cycle. So when Volkswagen unveiled the new 2016 Passat amidst the massive diesel emissions cheating scandal, it made for one awkward press conference.
As a quick recap, Volkswagen has been accused of manipulating emissions testing on hundreds of thousands of its diesel vehicles in the U.S., and faces a fine of as much as $18 billion. VW was basically caught red-handed, and admitted there was a “defeat device” in its diesel cars that knew when it was being tested and would change its emissions accordingly. Not a good look for VW.

Volkswagen must have known that it would eventually get caught, but it probably did not expect to be amidst such a scandal months ago when they selected September 21 as the reveal date for the new Passat family sedan. This Instagram from automotive journalist Alex Roy best encapsulates the feeling of the night:
And with IGs like that setting the tone for the evening, Volkswagen came out and made a public apology for its actions in regard to the diesel scandal. Alex Roy had video of that apology:

Then they finally took the wraps off the updated Passat. It is basically a mild refresh of the design, with some exterior updates, including headlights, taillights, and other tweaks. Under the hood, you’ll be able to get a 170-horsepower 1.8-liter inline-4 and 280-hp 3.6-liter V6. A 2.0-liter diesel engine was mentioned, though given the situation, that engine will likely not be ready until it is actually emissions-compliant.


Inside, the Passat gets new infotainment system. It can now support Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. The base MSRP for the Passat is $22,440, which holds pricing at the same level as last year.


This is a pretty mild update for an already bland car. VW could have announced the Passat would be replaced by giant mechanized chickens, armed with lasers and rocket launchers, and it would not have overshadowed the news of the day.

 Volkswagen’s attempts cheat the emissions testing process was still very much on everyone’s minds, and will continue to be, despite any new vehicle rollouts in the coming months.