“Volkswagen Mexico is committed to maintaining good relationships and open dialogue with our neighboring communities,” the company told The Washington Post in a statement Friday. “After meeting with local authorities about how to protect vehicles from hailstorms at our Puebla, Mexico, factory, we will suspend the automatic operation of anti-hail sonic devices near our vehicle storage yards and will only operate them in manual mode when weather conditions determine hail is imminent.” Volkswagen said it will put netting above its cars as the main form of protection and will use the cannons as a “secondary tool.”
Farmers complained that Volkswagen’s anti-hail devices led to the loss of nearly 5,000 acres of crops by keeping away precipitation since the beginning of the rainy season in May, according to the Agence France-Presse.
The hail cannons are “affecting the Earth’s cycles,” said Gerardo Perez, a leader of the farmers, AFP reported. When the devices blast away, “the sky literally clears and it simply doesn’t rain,” he said. To cover the crop losses, the farmers are demanding that Volkswagen pay nearly $4 million in compensation, according to the report.