Me, for one. The VW I currently drive is, by some margin, the most exciting car I’ve ever owned.
It’s a Golf Four-Motion which I picked up for a song on Ebay. From the outside it looks deceptively ordinary: just the standard, boxy Golf body with no distinguishing marks or features to tell you how secretly evil it is. But underneath the bonnet is a ludicrously inappropriate 2.8 litre V6 engine. On a Golf. Imagine!
It goes like a rocket. Or rather – as the bloke who sold it to me so exquisitely put it – it goes like a stabbed rat.
And it corners quicker than a Thomson’s gazelle out-turning a cheetah. Or something similarly impressive. (Note to US readers: a ‘corner’ is a bit like you experience when you turn your steering wheel slightly in order to pull off the freeway, only more dramatic and exciting).
Anyway, you may gather that eco-friendliness wasn’t the first thing on my mind when I bought my Golf. As is the case, I would suspect, with about 99.99 per cent of VW drivers. Sure we’ve no objection to breathing clean air; and we’ll accept a bit of extra fuel economy if they insist (not that it really matters now that petrol is so cheap). But if it’s a trade off between on the one hand speed, comfort and value for money and on the other, the odd cute baby polar bear cub, than I’m sorry but I think I speak for all of us when I say: “Hasta la vista Baby Polie”.
After all if we wanted to engage in fatuous green virtue-signalling we wouldn’t have bought a VW, we’d have got a Prius.
The Prius is the sort of car they would have built in Enver Hoxha’s Albania, if Enver Hoxha’s Albania had been capable of making anything other than tractors. Worthy, uncomfortable, and possibly quite unnecessary, a Prius is the motoring equivalent of a colonic irrigation. Whereas the car I drive – my Golf Four-Motion – is much closer in character to a really well administered blow job.
And that’s a quality I appreciate in a car. Since I got my Golf Four-Motion, boring chores like trips to the shop to pick up some milk have been transformed. A free blow job on the way there; a free blow job on the way back. What’s not to like?
VW are welcome to use that line in their next ad campaign if they like. But I expect they won’t because right now they’ll be concentrating on keeping their heads down.
It’s true though. VW makes cars for people whose main priority is cars, as opposed to people who want to show how guilty they feel about doing something quite as disgusting as driving.
Which is the real reason, I suspect, that they ended up being targeted by the green Gestapo, in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency, which has caught VW out doctoring their emissions tests to make their cars look greener than they actually are. (Invented by Hitler; destroyed by the green Gestapo. Oh the irony!)
You could argue that this is hypocritical of VW, coming only a couple of years after it put out this Sustainability Report boasting of its green credentials.
The serious risks associated with climate change pose a central challenge for the Volkswagen Group. The Group-wide risk management system therefore analyzes every risk from a quantitative and qualitative perspective and rates it according to defined indicators. At the same time, climate change is transforming customer requirements and creating fresh opportunities. Volkswagen is developing a growing number of new technologies, products and services to address the challenges associated with climate change, from eco-friendly vehicles and supplementary services, to fuel-saver driving courses and energy products for mobility and beyond.
But that’s only because VW was bullied and hounded into paying lip service to Gaia as a result of a sustained campaign by Greenpeace, including this nauseating commercial where little kids dressed as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader (I hope George Lucas sued the bastards for copyright) were shown battling an evil VW with their lightsabers. (Greenpeace likes few things better than exploiting and indoctrinating kids, by the way. “Give me a child until he is seven…”)
And the reason for this is that, unlike most of its craven, corporatist sell-out competitors, VW was brave enough to try to fight against the technologically unfeasible, economically untenable emissions targets being imposed on it by the green commissars of the European Union.
“…The 95 g/km Long-Term-Target for 2020 is the result of a political decision taken last year. It is not based on sound impact assessment nor on a realistic appreciation of the costs and technical progress necessary to meet the goal within the timescale…” — Volkswagen 2010
VW, in other words, was making a stand for its consumers and – just as importantly – its shareholders against a bunch of unelected ideologues who don’t give a stuff for free markets or the bottom line.
No one is arguing against cleaner air. But cleaner air is where the motoring industry has been going, of its own accord, for decades.
As Matt Ridley notes in The Rational Optimist:
Today a car emits less pollution travelling at full speed than a parked car did in 1970 from leaks.
Environmental regulation may have played its part in this but so, far more importantly, did consumer demand. People want cleaner, safer, more efficient cars. But equally they want comfort, performance and value for money. What car manufacturers have sought to do is to find a balance between the two.
The problem with regulators at supranational institutions like the EU is that they’re only interested in the health and safety Nazi end of things. As with the nuclear industry, the low carbon economy, light bulbs, neonicotinoids and so much else these green ideologues don’t give a damn whether their targets are attainable or how consumers and businesses might be affected. In common with the many totalitarian regimes, it’s not about people but the Big Idea.
If we want to stand up to this tyranny, maybe the thing we should all do right now is to make sure the next car we buy is a VW. But obviously, only do this if you feel comfortable with the idea of buying a car that feels like oral sex. If the anal douche is more your kind of thing, stick with the Prius or, if you want the premium, bells-and-whistles experience, a Tesla.