Styled exhaust tips have been around for decades but in the past decade or so have becoming increasingly bolder, pronounced and artistic parts of new car design. They are a great accent to a car’s presentation that speaks to its performance potential, its premium standing in its class or model line.

All good things though seem to get co-opted by the bean counters at some point to save money or gain leverage through nuance. In this case the latest moral deficit of car makers as we enter the new malaise era is the advent of fake exhaust pipes.

Yes, when a simple chrome exhaust tip is too much for the system, we have now graduated to plastic ornaments that hang on a plastic bumper cover that portray the image of power and prestige. They are not only much easier to style and likely cost less to make, but you’ll never have to clean the soot off them.

This we’ll be told is a benefit we’ll enjoy, not a dirty lie to be resentful of. The great thing is, now instead of tacky unreliable phony accessories from Pep Boys, we can take heart that our factory fakes are under warranty. Aint life grand.

Now while we’d think this kind of fakery and dishonesty in form would come from a bargain basement brand or at the very least an American brand – most of which lost their scruples long ago. Instead, the first examples we’ve been seeing are from actually Volkswagen and Audi.

Yes a German brand long known for their genuine article no-nonsense machines that offer more than the function follows form mediocrity that everyone else sells, is the first to offer up mainstream phony exhaust tips.

First seen in our review of the Volkswagen Atlas last year, then on the new Volkswagen Tiguan the plastic trim pieces don’t at all even pretend to be functional. The single exhaust is actually nowhere near them, not connected in any way shape or form. As seen here, it dumps out well ahead of the bumper hidden away from prying eyes.

They have now shown up on the Volkswagen Golf and the next-generation Volkswagen Jetta. Oddly enough the Volkswagen GTI was spared the fakery, at least for now. Perhaps they know true enthusiasts would balk at what is purely an outright lie to sell cars.

This goes up the ladder to Audi, of which many of the newest models also feature fake exhaust tips. These include the A7, A8, Q5 crossover SUV and even the premium priced SQ5 high-performance version. So you pay top-dollar for a true German performance machine and this is how the company treats your intelligence. Nice.

Moving on, the fad is now moving down scale. The all-new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch I just tested features beautifully integrated dual exhaust tips. But, looking kind of thin and slim to be real I ventured underneath to find they too have given into the craze.

Toyota buyers however will likely never know the difference as the vast majority of them aren’t really “car people”. Most of the boobs will believe the listing of “chrome exhaust tips” in their brochure just as it read in our press materials and move on without blinking.

At least Volkswagen and Audi doesn’t make mention their falsies, hoping nobody will notice them.

While fake vents and scoops have been around for years, I think this latest form of design dishonesty is a new low – particularly coming from the German brands who have traditionally been the go-to for down-to-business reality of form. That’s what we pay for there. We don’t expect this kind of crap from them.

To think I would be asked to spend $100k plus on a new Audi top-end model like an A8 and get phony exhaust pipes glued to my bumper? WTF? No, absolutely not!

Is it that hard to just be honest and pure? If it is just get rid of exhaust tips all together. Just stop the outright lying, nuancing and disrespecting the intelligence of your buyers.