And no way do I want the job. Heck, VW needs an army of bloggers and other “social media” hacks. The sum total of communications I’ve received from VW about my “dirty diesel” is just slightly above zero, and that was about a month ago. With the exception of the cheerful chatterings about the latest VW product on the blog and FB page linked off vw.com, VW media is still stuck in the age of “Mad Men”.
In the absence of VW’s input, the interwebs are quite humming with the news of VW’s (mis)management of this media apocalypse… Just read http://www.tdiclub.com and you’ll learn of VW’s MSRP exchange offer to an owner, the problems of VW’s last undocumented and stealthy (you might want to invest in an OBDII lock) emissions “fix”, retrofit vs. buyback costs, ad infinitum. You’ll find more info over at vwvortex.com as well as the expected damning condemnation of the evil polluter VW over at dailykos.com (one of the few online forums I haven’t been banned from, though I’m workin’ on it!), as well as detnews.com, Reuters, and the euro press.
So without any real work I now know that my “A6” Golf Variant will need a few thousand $$$ worth of DEF injection hardware to comply as well as a reflash. I know that somewhere on the order of closing on ten million vehicles are in violation worldwide, and VW has a tenth of a trillion in available assets to fix or replace them. That would suggest that buybacks are out of the question, at least if VW crushed the cars like the environmentalists wish they could watch and gloat over. And thanks to the internet I know there’s a strong market for used VW diesels in plenty of places that could care less about emissions, markets that are so strong that used VWs from Europe and America are often exported to them. Google VW’s fleet of auto carrier ships and their routes and you’ll see that they’re running empty back to places like Brazil and Mexico anyway…
So intense is VW’s silence that I held this story expecting them to disgorge a late friday afternoon news dump regarding their friday meeting with CARB, maybe even describing just what the heck VW intended to do. Not a peep from VW, as CARB got to control the story with the head of the board hinting that she expected those “dirty diesels” to be exiled from California if not the planet. Heck, it’s to the point where the average VW owner knows more about the “dirty diesel” recall than most VW employees, unless they goof off and surf the web a lot at work. Wonder if http://www.tdiclub.com has been blocked on VW’s network?
Admittedly, hierarchical corporations with their military model management have a hard time with flat forums like the internet, where everyone is a producer as well as consumer of news and may and will pop the story that sinks or saves a corporation. Back when GM’s corporate future was in doubt and GM’s paid bloggers extolled the virtues of massive SUVs and Caddies while buyers were more worried if the company and dealers would be there to service them, a small army of labor and activist bloggers sold the GM bankruptcy plan to a doubtful nation and congress. They saved GM not by extolling the dubious virtues of a Suburban, but by telling the hard truth- a total liquidation of GM would turn a recession into a depression, and as we have seen, GM could be saved and along with a million or better jobs.
VW, there are thousands of underemployed VW fanatics out there that would be happy to tell your story, and I doubt they’d complain if you paid them to. You could use that army of social media operatives to fit your story to the memes of both the left and the right, appealing to both the lefties that are bidding up microbusses to insane prices as well as the anti-EPA fanatics of the right. Let your social media operatives test messages and trial balloon solutions. Give the VW owners who feel abandoned reason to believe that you still care about them, and their cars will soon be fixed, even though they don’t necessarily need to be fixed.
Or you could just ignore this whole newfangled internet thing and even the dead tree media and just go bankrupt, taking down the Euro economy with you…