Did VW cause droughts in Mexico? Car giant accused to artificially prevent hailstorms that would damage its cars
- ‘Hail cannons’ which are supposed to break-up hailstones have been deployed
- Use of devices around VW plant in Puebla has drawn fury from farmers
- They are reportedly seeking more than £2.8million in damage from VW
Car giant Volkswagen has been accused of causing a drought by blasting shockwaves into the air around its factory in Mexico to prevent hailstorms damaging its new cars.
Bosses have been deploying ‘hail cannons’ which are supposed to break-up hailstones forming in the atmosphere.
The practice involves blasting out air created by an explosion in a tube. The method has been around for a long time, despite scepticism about whether it works at all.
Volkswagen’s use of the ‘hail cannons’ around its plant in Puebla has drawn fury from farmers
But Volkswagen’s use of the devices around its key plant in Puebla, has drawn fury from farmers who say it is causing a drought.
Gerardo Perez, a farmer’s representative in Mexico, said cannons had dispelled all rainfall since May.
‘The sky literally clears and it doesn’t rain,’ he said.
They are reportedly seeking more than £2.8million in damages from Volkswagen and have protested around the plant in June and August.
The plant is Volkswagen’s largest outside Germany, employing 15,000 workers and producing more than 450,000 vehicles every year.
Responding to the farmers, Volkswagen has reportedly promised to switch the cannons – known in Mexico as ‘bombas antigranizo’ – off automatic mode and said they would also install protective mesh around the cars.
Volkswagen has previously suffered badly from hailstones. In 2008, a storm in Germany pelted 30,000 vehicles parked in Emden, a vehicle transport port.
There was speculation at the time it could cost the company around £79million.
In 2013, hailstones in the Wolfsburg region of northern Germany also dented wing-shields and scratched cars at its Wolfsburg base. The company has been approached for comment.