If Volkswagen is Darth Vader, Greenpeace International is hoping there’s some good in it yet. The organization has launched a campaign urging the car company to “turn away from the dark side” and stop opposing Europe’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Greenpeace’s VW Darkside website features a short video with children dressed as various characters from the “Star Wars” movies and a Death Star bearing the VW logo preparing to fire at, and presumably destroy, the Earth. It’s a parody of VW’s own Super Bowl ad for its Passat. (The video was not available on Greenpeace’s YouTube channel “due to a copyright claim by Lucasfilm Ltd.”) A report on the site further details why the organization considers VW the Dark Lord of European car-makers:
- A quest for domination: “The Volkswagen Group is the largest car maker in Europe,” Greenpeace notes. “One in five new cars sold in Europe is a Volkswagen brand, and by 2018, the company aims to be the biggest car maker in the world.”
- A heavy footprint: “As the biggest car company in Europe, the Volkswagen Group has the biggest climate footprint of any car manufacturer in Europe,” the organization says.
- “Dirty” tactics: VW works against buyers who want cleaner vehicles by “artificially inflating their price and making them marginal to its fleet.” (Only 6 percent of the Volkswagen Group’s global sales in 2010 were of its most efficient models, according to Greenpeace.)
- An iron fist: VW has more spots on the board of ACEA, Europe’s car manufacturers’ association, than any other company, and “ACEA has been leading the charge against strong fuel efficiency standards in Europe,” Greenpeace says.
The car-maker can clearly do better, according to the environmental group, which points out that VW has developed several fuel-efficient prototypes … that never make it to market. And the ultra-efficient Lupo, unveiled in 1998, was offered “at such a high price that it simply didn’t sell,” according to Greenpeace.
On the other hand, VW has been involved in European studies into the viability of electric vehicles, and says it aims to launch “numerous plug-in hybrid cars on the market in the years 2013/2014.”