Many people have proposed that the decision by Volkswagen to install emissions cheating devices in more than 11 million of its vehicles was not made by the top executives for the company. Recently, a small number of engineers for the company have come forward and said that they were responsible for the action.
The engineers said that the demands in emission reductions that were made by former CEO Martin Winterkorn were simply impossible to achieve. However, the workers did not want to admit failure, so they installed cheating devices into the vehicles.
Reports indicate that Winterkorn was pressing the company’s engineers to reduce the CO2 emission levels from 2006 vehicles by 30%. The engineers eventually realized that they couldn’t achieve this with current technology. But rather than admit to failure, a small team got together and decided to fake success.
The engineers proceeded to over-inflate tire pressure and combine engine oil with diesel in order to trick the emissions testers. And the entire time, top executives for Volkswagen were completely unaware.
While this revelation might save the skin of the Volkswagen executive team, some people are arguing that the executives should have been more knowledgeable about what was going on. Others are scolding the executive team for enforcing goals that were simply impossible to achieve.
There is also the possibility that former Volkswagen executives paid off the engineers to make this confession in order to protect themselves. If that is eventually revealed to be the case, expect Winterkorn and his comrades to be in a world of trouble.
The owner of Tesla Elon Musk recently said, “What Volkswagen is really showing is that we’ve reached the limit of what’s possible with diesel and gasoline. The time has come to move to a new generation of technology.”
Perhaps Musk is right. Maybe we have reached the limit for diesel vehicles.
But whether or not the executives are to blame, there’s no denying the fact that Volkswagen is still in a terrible situation as a result of the scandal.