Everything You Need to Know About the Audi Scandal

Sorry to say, but this Audi scandal’s long gone as a memory of the ’80s, although the fact is this — this scandal wasn’t even really a scandal, per se, but Audi certainly did take some massive heat for it. Want to know what it was about?

The Audi Scandal of the ’80s: When Cars Drove Wild

We’re of course talking about acceleration, something those Audi vehicles had some trouble with, apparently. Audi very nearly had to exit the American market of the auto industry as a result, much like how Volkswagen might have to regarding their emissions test scandal. Audi scandal-2However, the scandal was only due to a sucker punch of an exposé when CBS’s “60 Minutes” interviewed Audi owners claiming that their cars would accelerate without drivers putting any pressure on the gas.

Scary thought. Makes one think about those haunted Stephen King cars (“Christine” or “Maximum Overdrive,” anyone?).

Talk about an apparent scam, though, setting off such a panic after Audi went ahead and sold more than 75K cars in the U.S. and facing sales trickle of a measly 12K cars in 1991. But here’s the kicker: the video proved to be a scam all itself as viewers weren’t even told that the Audi car was modified with an air compressor forcing the vehicle into gear so that it would look like it was accelerating uncontrollably. Sneaky.

Still the Damage Was Done Thanks to This Audi Scandal

And it took the automaker nearly 20 years to recover from this obvious Audi scandal, through no fault of their own, though. Even when Audi ran some pretty snotty ads quizzing potential buyers about their cars that “if you can pass this test…. You’re ready for an Audi,” making it seem like buyers wouldn’t know where the gas pedal was, Audi still survived.

And it turned out Audi was absolutely right — tests proved that people would confuse the gas and brake pedals, vindicating the automaker as a continuing competitor in the automotive market. I guess that’s a precursor to the hanging “chad” of Florida voters when Gore ran against Bush? Hmm….

Everything You Need to Know About the Toyota Scandal

When looking at auto scandals, such as the one Volkswagen’s facing right now, you have to wonder just what could possibly be the worst — is it the tires like with Firestone and Ford? Or perhaps it’s all about the cutthroat marketing with GM and Chrysler? No. It has to be something that could very well jeopardize human life. Acceleration. And we saw something like that before regarding Audi (although that automaker was indeed vindicated).

This Toyota Scandal Is Exactly About That: Acceleration

To be clear, that’s unintended acceleration. When your car seems to be gaining in speed and you don’t even have your foot on the pedal, there’s a problem! And it turned out that only Toyota scandal-1just three years ago, Toyota had agreed to pay the government an astonishing $1.2B, avoiding prosecution in the automotive industry for years of proof showing unintended acceleration occurrences with your Toyota and Lexus models.

This payout happened to be the largest criminal penalty ever. And with no surprise, the Toyota scandal did result in the carmaker blaming the issue on everything but the kitchen sink —

  • Driver Errors
  • Floor Mats
  • Lack of Proof

Sadly, it turned out that the Toyota scandal had been blanketed by the fact that the company was effectively hiding documents about the one central flaw — the gas pedal assembly! Executives of Toyota had to take one good look at their hands and realize that the skin’s smeared with the stains of many facing the flaw and potentially realizing death due to accidents that could be prevented.

It’s a Miracle Toyota Still Manufactures Vehicles Today

That’s tenacity and professionalism, something Volkswagen can take notes on regarding the Toyota scandal of that decade. Toyota admitted fault, recalling 9.3MM vehicles worldwide. Replacing those gas pedal assemblies took a lot of money, but in the long run it was well worth it for the automaker. And the truth shall set you free.

Everything You Need to Know About the Ford Pinto

Economy and simplicity became the name of the begin around the ’70s, what with the rise of imports pulverizing the automotive industry and forcing the American-made market to make some kind of move. So Ford came out with the Ford Pinto in 1971. Big mistake (at least in the long run).

Honestly, the Ford Pinto Wasn’t a Bad Car at All!

It seemed like everyone wanted a Ford Pinto back then! Apparently a car named after a bean was kind of cute. In its first year of sale, Ford made a pretty penny on the bean with 328,275 vehicles sold. There was just one slight problem: Ford know there was a problem with the Pinto but neglected to tell anyone about it.Ford Pinto-1

Here was the problem with the Ford Pinto: it had a fuel filler neck that could easily break away and poke a nasty hole or two in the fuel tank. This naturally would only occur during a rear-end collision, though, but in that day and age when crashes were common, this didn’t say much for the Ford Pinto as a reliable vehicle. As a result, as the fuel filler neck would puncture the tank, this would then spray fuel into the passenger compartment and cause a nasty fire. You’d think Ford would’ve been wise enough to do something about that before launching the Ford Pinto into sale….

Here’s Ford’s reasoning for not addressing the issue they knew would occur even before Ford Pintos would even go into production — it was just too expensive to fix! We call that quite the auto scandal possibly even rivaling that of the most recent Volkswagen-gate going on. But it’s all relative. The fact was a fuel system upgrade would’ve added $11 to the cost of each car. Not a lot at first glance, but when you’re producing thousands of vehicles for sale, well….

Still, a shield to protect the tank from rupturing would’ve easily cost Ford only a measly dollar, but what the heck do we know? We’re just Profile Reviews. We call it like we see it.

So Did Ford End up Coughing Up the Money to Remedy the Situation?

Yes, and no. You can see Ford slapping his own forehead with this one, as a memo back in 1973 found its way to the media basically spelling out the estimate for how many deaths to expect annually due to the defect in the fuel filler neck, and it wasn’t pretty — it basically said it would be cheaper for the company to just ‘ignore’ the problem versus fixing it, and by 1978, they felt the public sting and outrage as Ford went ahead and recalled 1.5MM of those Ford Pintos, along with the Mercury Bobcat, just to make those modifications to the fuel system.

How bad was the outcry that forced Ford to succumb? Well, when facing 900 drivers dying as a result of the fuel system flaw and millions of dollars in coming civil suits, it turned out that the memo was wrong. Ford spent way more money than what it would’ve cost just to make those changes. You live and you learn.

Everything You Need to Know About the 1960s Chevy Scandal

Not one worker for Chevrolet back in the day of the late ’60s felt blessed to work in the factory when this Chevy scandal hit the fan like feces and caused a massive chain reaction — much like the chain reaction set off by Chevrolet engine mounts — that sent ripples through the auto industry. Pretty bad issue, actually, but thankfully we’re still seeing those Chevys driving around today….

It Wasn’t so Easy Back Then Because of the Chevy Scandal

So what was the whole hoopla about? Well, those engine mounts were the problem. They Chevy Scandal-1were defective. An NHTSA report shed some light on the issue, referring to General Motors about some more data, and the information wasn’t exactly pleasant — 172 reports of failed motor mounts, which resulted in 63 accidents and 18 injuries. Now that wasn’t even the Chevy scandal that would mess with your head….

It turned out that GM — and the NHTSA — actually went hush-hush on the issue for almost three years before coming out with the report and making it known to the public. In a nutshell, they risked more accidents occurring as a result of these defective engine mounts. Not smart.

Why were those engine mounts so defective? Basically, at the high speed, those mounts would torque out of position and throw the entire throttle body out of sync, causing even more acceleration — unintended acceleration. GM, in fact, discovered that those same defective engine mounts had been installed in Chevys for over a decade, forcing the discussion for that legitimate safety concern that’s so prevalent in today’s auto industry, what with auto insurance and roadside assistance major factors.

What Did Gm Do About This Chevy Scandal? It’s Simple….

The automaker recalled an alarming 6.5MM of those vehicles, fixing the issue promptly. Smart move. And it saved GM from disaster. Take notes, Volkswagen. This is how you handle a problem.