I noticed in today's news.....even the Alabama Attorney General has decided to jump into the VW diesel business. There's apparently already twenty-odd AG's throughout the US....fixing up some kind of investigation and settlement deal. My humble guess? The EPA might be convinced to keep the fine at one billion dollars....but that might be one side of the whole deal. The fifty states? Combined....I'll bet it adds up to ten billion easily. Then you might have lawyers just going for private lawsuits.
So, I'm making these five predictions:
1. An EPA leveraged deal where Volkswagen must fix the problem and pay a fine (one billion is my humble guess on the minimum), OR perform a buy-back/swap...with a gas engine car instead. The 'fix'? Well....it'd be a software and engine update....which brings that 42 mpg down to around 22 mpg. The odds of some guy accepting something like this? Zero. The odds of some guy accepting a buy-back deal? Zero. If you are getting 42 mpg.....you are fairly happy and don't want a government guy messing with your life.
2. Oddly, over ninety-percent of the owners will refuse the fix....refuse the swap....and say they won’t participate with the EPA deal. Or you might have guys accept the 'fix', with some cash for the deal and then have some engineer friend reset the computer back to the 42 mpg version and dirty air deal.
3. EPA then gets upset over people confronting them....so they order them to accept the swap or pay a yearly fine of $500. More than half of the owners will accept the $500 a year fine and just say OK, but take the EPA to court.
4. When the smoke finally clears....half of the cars are bought back and put on trucks...sent to Mexico and sold there to the general public...sending the fumes over the border into the US. EPA goes ballistic but can't do anything about this.
5. VW has billions to pay which infuriates the Germans. So the Germans decide by 2017...an election year in Germany...to sue the US for privacy violations by NSA for 15-billion dollars. As much money as the state attorney generals and EPA think they will get off VW....the Germans will get twice that much in return.
Finally, this odd feeling. What would President Donald Trump do when the Germans confront him over NSA, privacy violations and pay-back for the screw-job on VW? I'm guessing that President Donald will jump quickly and order US troops to pack up and leave Germany. We might all be shocked at how this incident flipped itself into some radical change in German-US relations.