WASHINGTON, District of Columbia—More bad news for Volkswagen. Just weeks after the company was forced to publicly admit it cheated on emission control standards for several U.S. diesel vehicle models, now a magazine has published leaked documents that claim Volkswagen also faked crash test data on its Golf economy model.
German-language magazine Der Spiegel released the documents online as part of its ongoing investigation into the now worldwide Volkswagen emission scandal. The documents purport to show that actual crash test results for several Golf models were significantly lower than the results the company submitted to U.S. government regulators.
Dieter-Klaus Fluchtursachen, international automobile consultant and former Daimler-Benz executive, translated and reviewed the documents for The Colored Folks Times-Dispatch.
Mr. Fluchtursachen said the documents paint a “more troubling picture” than the fraudulent emission “dirty tricks they played.”
“This is more explosive than those emission data shenanigans,” Mr. Fluchtursachen said.
“As far as structural design goes, these documents seem to suggest that their Golf model is about as safe as a 1972 or ‘73 Ford Pinto. Frankly, I don’t see a way VW can recover from this most unfortunate shame.”
As far as structural design…their Golf model is about as safe as a 1972 or ‘73 Ford Pinto.
The early Ford Pinto models were perhaps the most-legendary of all lemons in automotive industry history. The poorly designed, rear-mounted gas tank would rupture and explode in a rear-end collision, creating an instant, raging inferno, even at a low speed of 5 miles per hour.
Ford Pinto models for 1971 to 1976 were recalled in 1978 and retrofitted to eliminate the exploding fuel tank design.
Mr. Fluchtursachen said he would have to study the highly technical documents more carefully to gauge the precise specifications of the VW Golf to make a “more-definitive comparison” to the Ford Pinto, but he is certain there could possibly be some “fatal structural deficiencies.”
“It’s quite possible some Golf models could actually blow up under the right conditions,” he added.
According to Mr. Fluchtursachen, the Der Spiegel article indicated the magazine will be releasing more details of its Volkswagen investigation in the coming months.
Annis Minor-DeMinimus covers technology news.