Volkswagen To Require Psychiatric Screening Prior to Purchase

Man laying on couch while psychiatrist woman writes diagnosis. Volkswagen logo on wall

In an unprecedented ruling, the United States Supreme Court has determined that (effective Jan 1, 2019) no persons under the age of 35 will be able to purchase a Volkswagen vehicle without undergoing stringent psychiatric evaluation. This controversial decision was reached in response to Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, and a number of recalls which has placed the safety of said vehicles in question. Branded by industry critics as “potentially dangerous”, mental health groups want Volkswagen’s diverse lineup of vehicles (including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche) regulated in a manner consistent with weapons and addictive pharmaceuticals. Their reasoning? That those predisposed or susceptible to self-harm could choose to purchase a Volkswagen in the hopes of seriously hurting themselves (or worse).

In recent years, scientific studies have indicated that both depression and suicidal tendencies can be prompted by a genetic predisposition, contradicting the previous belief that causation was purely situational. Regardless of the root cause, an October 2017 study by the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health determined that (from 2005 to 2015) depression rose significantly among Americans age 12 and older with the most rapid increase (approx. 4%) seen in minors under the age of 17.

With the eldest test subjects counted among the millennial demographic they, along with their younger Gen Y & Z counterparts, already present a unique challenge to marketers. As the largest growing demographic, most manufacturers and retailers are focused on bolstering their relationship with the younger consumers. In fact, there are very few companies that aren’t taking drastic steps in order to do so. But now, Volkswagen can count themselves among one of the most impacted manufacturers on the planet, since they are now being subjected to a level of scrutiny equivalent to that imposed upon license-to-carry applicants.

“This is an extreme overreaction,” claims Hardy Brennecke, Executive Vice President and CFO of the Volkswagen Group. “As one of the most enduring manufacturers of high-end vehicles, we are rightfully angry to be accused of offering unsafe or subpar vehicles to the masses. While we are apologetic for the string of safety recalls that have come to light in recent months, it’s criminal of anyone to brand Volkswagen as some kind of predatory entity, or widespread liability.”

But the Supreme Court disagrees, stating that it would be irresponsible to allow a depressed or suicidal party to purchase a vehicle that could be harmful and/or fatal to them.  Justice Samuel Alito states, “It has now been a quarter of a century since the Brady Bill was enacted. As a result, we don’t allow people to walk into a store and walk out with a newly purchased gun. There are protocols. Protocols which must be followed to determine if that individual is mentally, and emotionally suited for the responsibility of carrying a deadly weapon. As long as Volkswagen is producing vehicles which are questionable in terms of their safety, we must be diligent in confirming a buyer’s suitability to assume the risk.”

So, bottom-line, if you’ve ever wanted to kill yourself in a Jetta, you might want to hold off on trying. Apparently, you might be facing some obstacles.


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