Report: Volkswagen Scandal Involved At Least 30 Managers, Not 'Small Group'

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
report volkswagen scandal involved at least 30 managers not small group

German magazine Der Spiegel reported Wednesday that at least 30 Volkswagen insiders and managers had knowledge of the illegal “defeat device” and there may be more.

The claim would somewhat refute to what Volkswagen of America chief Michael Horn testified in front of a congressional subcommittee last week when he told representatives that “a couple of software engineers” at Volkswagen in Germany were responsible for the the scandal that has cost the company billions of dollars.

Volkswagen hired U.S. firm Jones Day to conduct an external investigation while the company inquires internally how engineers installed software on 11 million diesel cars that would cheat emissions tests.

Spiegel quoted a Volkswagen engineer who said that managers should have been leery of any diesel engine that engineers claimed could pass emissions tests without expensive exhaust controls.

The claim for an LNT-equipped clean diesel should “have to make any engine developers leery,” the magazine reported.

New Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller will address top management Thursday on the investigations, Reuters reported.

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  • Klossfam Klossfam on Oct 14, 2015

    This is really just going to come down to VW trying to avoid the costs and additional complexity of UREA/DEF injection. Saved them money (at least initially) and made it easier to market diesels by not requiring it. A massive understatement at this point but a gamble that did not pay off... DEF systems are easy to live with now (I have a RAM 1500 EcoDiesel and DEF is available at the pump for under $3/gallon at multiple truck stops near me). They are going to most likely end up installing DEF systems after the fact at a much higher cost with the re-engineering/retrofitting.

  • NickS NickS on Oct 14, 2015

    Having only a handful of people (let alone 30) keep a secret about a Trojan horse inside a released product is unimaginable for any engineering organization of a large corporation I have ever worked for. All the times I have worked with European (and more specifically German) teams, not a whole lot of significant differences came out, except in two very stark ways: diversity of careers, and of teams. How many of the senior managers and officers at VAG are German? How many have only had one employer in their entire careers? Does VAG reflexively assign a German at the helm of any company they acquire?

    • See 1 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Oct 14, 2015

      @Corey Lewis Me neither. The more people in on a "secret", the harder it is to keep that secret. I still think it was just a couple people who really knew it was a defeat device, the others who knew probably thought it was a brilliant engineering solution that should be guarded as proprietary, but never understood that it was illegal in the US.

  • Voyager Voyager on Oct 15, 2015

    The walk of shame continues. Large newspaper ads in which Volkswagen says sorry. That sounds more like the sort of sorry for getting caught. Otherwise you wouldn't have placed the software in the first place.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Oct 15, 2015

    Don't ask, don't tell. If you were in on the scam, you kept quiet. Anyone outside the "pass emissions" department wouldn't know as it would be outside their area (the guy who specifies triple squares for major suspension and brake parts, for example...thanks, and if I ever see you at Oktoberfest, I'm buying you a big beer and dumping it over your head). The team (s) who do the certification had to know, the team leader knew. Above that it might be CYA memos all the way up the chain. I'm sure others knew, but it was never in writing.