Car Industry

Volkswagen tries to control the weather, angers Mexican farmers

Local farmers are alleging that VW's hail cannons at its Puebla, Mexico factory are causing drought conditions.

Jose Castanares/AFP/Getty Images

You'd think that Volkswagen would have had its fill of impacting the environment. Apparently that's not the case at a Volkswagen factory in Puebla, Mexico, where the automaker has been using cannons to change the weather.

These cannons are designed to break apart hail before it forms and rains down on freshly-built cars, and they fire a highly compressed blast of gas into the sky to do so. Farmers in the area surrounding the factory have claimed that the hail cannons have caused drought conditions that damaged their crops and are suing the company for $3.7 million.

The above video is an example of an agricultural hail cannon at work, just for reference.

Volkswagen isn't the only entity in the region using the cannons, other farmers have them installed as well to prevent the hail from damaging their crops, and the cannons' manufacturer states that its effective radius is only around 600 square feet around the area where the gas is fired.

The cannons are fired automatically when certain meteorological conditions are met, but Volkswagen issued a statement from its volcano lair... sorry, I mean from its corporate communications office to Jalopnik, that it would immediately cease the use of the cannons in automatic mode and that it would move to install antihail netting over the storage yards where the cannons are installed.

Volkswagen and the farmers are working together to reach a solution with the local government acting as an intermediary.