One way or another Volkswagen seems determined to leave their mark on the environment.
Still reeling from the diesel-gate scandal that cost the company billions in fines, settlements and legal fees, the company is now under fire for the use of something called hail cannons. The cannons shoot sonic waves into the clouds, essentially creating sonic booms as storms approach.
The thought, which has never been scientifically proven to work, is that these sonic waves break up the hail being created in the upper atmosphere before these ice balls of destruction can reign down on the new Jettas, Beettles, Tiguans and Golfs produced at the Puebla, Mexico production facility.
Wine makers have also been known to sound the cannons in order to protect against crop damage.
The problem is that local farmers feel these cannons are not only eliminating the threat of hail, but actually altering the weather and preventing it from raining. The region is in the midst of a drought that has left it without significant precipitation since May.
This has led a group of farmers to bring a suit against VW for $3.7 million to account for the damage done to more than 5,000 acres of land.
In response, VW has pledged to only operate the cannons when “the meteorological conditions determine the imminent fall of hail.” They’re also installing anti-hail nets over the 150 acres on which the finished vehicles sit.
The company employs nearly 15,000 workers at the Puebla factory, which has been producing VW vehicles since 1967.