Steve Kalafer has been a Volkswagen dealer for almost 23 years. And unfortunately for Volkswagen, Kalafer also happens to be an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who has begun work on a documentary focusing on the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal.
According to Automotive News, Kalafer’s film, “Backfire: The Volkswagen Fraud of the Century,” will include testimonies and stories from those impacted by Volkswagen’s diesel crisis, including customers, dealers, and lawmakers. Kalafer also plans to interview previous VW executives and researchers from West Virginia University who uncovered the scandal.
Kalafer, who’s been selling cars for 39 years, is currently chairman of Flemington Car & Truck Country in Flemington, N.J., which includes 17 brands. He told AN the Volkswagen crisis is the worst he’s seen in his career.
“I started with two gas pumps and a one-car showroom,” he told AN. “I’ve been with all of these manufacturers all of these years. The reality is that unless these issues are dealt with straightforwardly, honestly and with equity, Volkswagen in hindsight will have destroyed their company.”
Kalafer also worries about “single-point” dealers who solely own Volkswagen franchises and are at high risk of financial harm. He says the automaker considers them “no more important than a Hershey wrapper after the piece of candy has been consumed. That hurts me.”
While the scandal deeply affects Kalafer, he said he will not be featured in the documentary. Kalafer has produced 16 films, three of which have been nominated for an Oscar. Among them was the 2010 film “The Soprano State: New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption,” which aimed to uncover corrupt state politicians.