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An Internal Letter Warned Volkswagen's Managers About the U.S. Probe Into Their Diesels

The underlying question that seems to be asked with every story dealing with the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal is, could it get any worse? Over the weekend, it did.
Posted: February 16, 2016 - 9:58AM
Author: Will Maley


German newspaper Bild am Sonntag (subscription required) reported the existence of an internal letter sent in May of 2014 to Volkswagen's senior managers - including CEO Martin Winterkorn - warning about a probe by the EPA into their diesels. The letter was found by Jones Day, the law firm handling Volkswagen's internal investigation. Citing documents from the investigation, Bild said the letter was from an employee known internally as "Winterkorn's fireman".

"It can be assumed that the authorities will investigate VW systems to establish whether Volkswagen has implemented test-recognition software," the letter states.

Later in the weekend, two sources told Reuters that they had knowledge of the letter. But it isn't certain that Winterkorn - one of the managers who got the letter - ever read it. One of the sources goes on to say the letter came from Volkswagen's product quality and safety department.

This letter now calls into question as to when and how much Volkswagen's senior managers knew about the scandal. Volkswagen publicly admitted they cheated emission tests on certain diesel models last September.


TB (not verified)    February 17, 2016 - 9:53AM

So, let me get this straight... the senior officials had no idea what was going on? The average 'employee' had a hunch, and maybe reported 'suspicious' activity, but really they just wanted to do the right thing to clean up their own 'neighborhood'? The underlings were only following 'orders'? The senior officials assured the volk that everything was okay, and to continue with the 'solution' errrr, 'plan', that they had implemented? This is starting to sound a bit familiar?! I think someone needs to investigate VW for plagiarism? Errrr, wait a second, maybe they actually helped write the book to begin with?!

How can this get worse for VW? Tomorrow will someone come forward saying that these TDI vehicles actually run on baby harp seals? This is not going away anytime soon. Face it VW... you're buying these cars back.

In the future, the VW management team will be forced to walk by the mass of run down TDI cars, on their way to the gallows. More than one loyal corporate member might raise a hand and yell 'Heil Winterkorn'. A very original story indeed.