In the news

The New York Times
Ron Lieber

"Martin Winterkorn, in his statement announcing his resignation as chief executive of Volkswagen this week, said he was “shocked” and “stunned” that the company had programmed some of its cars to cheat on emissions tests. But a few days before he gave up his post, he made a promise that Volkswagen would do “everything that must be done” to restore trust in it."


The company could simply buy back all of the vehicles where the fix on the emissions test was in. U.S. PIRG, the federation of state public interest research groups, announced a campaign on Wednesday aimed at pressuring Volkswagen to write checks to owners for whatever price they paid for the vehicles in the first place.

Why not just ask for whatever the cars were worth on the day before news of the scandal broke? Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at U.S. PIRG, says that the drivers deserve more.

“In that case, the consumer is getting the value of the car but not being compensated for the harm,” Mr. Mierzwinski said. “They tried to buy a green, high-performance car and ended up being unwitting participants in a conspiracy to pollute the earth.”

Read the full story by New York Times "Your Money" columnist Ron Lieber here: "How Volkswagen Could Compensate Diesel Owners."

(Ron Lieber's story also embeds a musical link to a song about the singer's beloved VW Beetle. Our "Make VW Pay" campaign news release makes the following reference: “VW once was a company that brought us iconic cars like the Beetle and the flower-powered microbus, but now VW is just a big cheater.")

Support Us

Your donation supports Illinois PIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code

Illinois PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.