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Emission Cheating Was An Open Secret At Volkswagen

The emission cheating scandal that Volkswagen finds itself in stretches all the way back to 2006 and was an 'open secret' among a group of employees.
Posted: January 26, 2016 - 10:11AM
Author: Will Maley


German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung got their hands on some of the results of Volkswagen's internal investigation and shines some light as to how the scandal began.

Back in 2006 Volkswagen's engine development department was under a lot of pressure. New U.S. emission regulations for diesels for the time meant automakers were scrambling for solutions to cut diesel emissions. Most automakers went with a urea injection system to clean up emissions. But Volkswagen wanted a different solution, one that was cost-effective. Staff at the engine department felt under pressure by the board and there was the fear of telling their bosses that the task given to them couldn't be done.

"Within the company there was a culture of 'we can do everything', so to say something cannot be done, was not acceptable," said Sueddeutsche Zeitung in its report (translated by Reuters).

"Instead of coming clean to the management board that it cannot be done, it was decided to commit fraud."

The cheating began in earnest in November 2006. Engine management software supplied by Bosch was manipulated by those in engine development department. Many staff members, including managers, knew about the cheat and took solace in the knowledge that it wouldn't be found out by regulators performing regular test methods.

Didn't someone try to report the cheating?

In 2011, a whistleblower involved in the current investigation and was involved in the cheating, told a manager outside the engine development department that cheating was going on. But the manager did not pursue the problem.

A Volkswagen spokesman declined to comment on Sueddeutsche Zeitung's story, calling it 'speculation'.

Volkswagen is expected to reveal the results of its investigation in April at their annual shareholders meeting.

Do you think we have seen the worst or is there still more to come about this cheating?