The Volkswagen Era

We were just about to push the big red “Publish” button on the newsletter last week when we saw the first early reports on the spot of bother that the German car manufacturer, Volkswagen has found itself in.

What a brilliant pause on our behalf.

We have found our new risk management case study which is delivering and will continue to deliver on so, so many levels.

For those that may have missed what we are talking about (and rest assured anyone reading this in Germany is probably not going to be in that category after we saw a headline that said that this scandal could have a bigger impact on Europe’s strongest economy than anything to do with German assistance or otherwise for the Greek economy) this issue relates to … well … lets go over to the VW PR team:

Discrepancies relate to vehicles with Type EA 189 engines, involving some eleven million vehicles worldwide. A noticeable deviation between bench test results and actual road use was established solely for this type of engine.

Yep that was written by the PR team … at least 11,000,000 vehicles worldwide – more cars than VW produce in a year – have a systematic and deliberate flaw as it relates to emissions testing.

More precisely VW was caught using software to cheat on emissions tests for 11 million of its diesel engine Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi-branded cars sold between 2009 and 2015.

The deception resulted in engines passing United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards during testing and yet having vehicles emitting up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in real world driving.

This is deception on a grand, grand scale.

Even from the other side of the world we can confidently predict that this is not a “lone wolf” but a determined and definitive decision by a group of people to deceive.

Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn was contrite, saying “I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public.” Winterkorn was in charge at Volkswagen from the start of 2008 to September 2015.

He attributed the admitted wrongdoing to “the terrible mistakes of a few people”. Winterkorn initially resisted calls to step down from his leadership role at VW, and then resigned as CEO on September 23, 2015.

What we are impressed by is that Winterkorn “knew” that it was the mistakes of few people BEFORE an investigation had been undertaken.  

That is impressive!

Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn was more direct, admitting “We’ve totally screwed up.

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