SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The CEO of Volkswagen stepped down Wednesday after admitting his company illegally programmed diesel fuel cars to pass emissions tests. Now the company is recalling 11 million cars after touting the cars as being energy efficient, when in reality, they were emitting 40 percent over the legal amount.
Local Volkswagen owners said they’re upset the company lied to them.
“I don’t think anyone likes to be lied to, so I am unhappy about that,” Ervina Obic said. “And I wouldn’t want to harm the environment, either.”
Many who drive diesel models will now have to get their cars repaired.
“Doing something like this is just not a good idea and I don’t know what they were thinking - how long they could get away with it,” said Salt Lake City resident Paul Perthus.
Cars affected include the four-cylinder Jetta, Beetle, Audi A3, and Golf cars, sold between 2008 and 2015, and Passat cars sold between 2014 and 2015.
“I know they pride themselves in workmanship and being honest and things like that, so I’m surprised by it,” said diesel Golf car owner Micky Curtis.
Ted Wilson with the Utah Clean Air Partnership says it calls into question how Volkswagen cars are impacting Utah’s air quality.
“To see that kind of malice, really, the disregard to, I suppose, sell cars or put more power in them,” Wilson said. “It’s a very serious violation of what one of our most precious resources in this state - our air.”
Wilson says Volkswagen may face similar lawsuits the state filed against tobacco companies in the mid 90’s.
“I think we can document there’s going to be some serious effects on our health, and that’s something the state has a stake in and ought to follow up on even to the degree of potential lawsuits,” he said.
Calls to the attorney’s general office were not immediately returned Wednesday.
Representatives at the local Volkswagen dealerships say they've received a lot calls from customers asking what kinds of repairs their cars will need. They say they don’t have that information right now. But most diesel model cars will need repairs in the near future to be up to emission standards.