'Defeat Device' PowerPoint Presentation is Volkswagen's Latest Embarrassment

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

If you want your nefarious plan to stay on the down low, try not to make a PowerPoint presentation on it.

That’s an obvious takeaway from the New York Times report that details a bombshell discovery made by investigators probing documents and laptops related to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal.

It’s already known that Audi designed the infamous “defeat device” at the heart of the scandal back in 1999, and that Volkswagen waited six years before deciding to use it.

But corporate culture being what it is, company representatives needed some pointers on the illicit technology. And thus, the incriminating PowerPoint was born.

The New York Times report, drawn from two sources who viewed the document, says the PowerPoint presentation was crafted by a senior technology executive in 2006, after the company made the decision to use the defeat device in its new “clean diesels”:

Just a few pages long, the 2006 presentation included a graph that explained the process for testing the amount of pollution spewing from a car. In a laboratory, regulators would try to replicate a variety of conditions on the road.

The pattern of those tests, the presentation said, was entirely predictable. And a piece of code embedded in the software that controlled the engine could recognize that pattern, activating equipment to reduce emissions just for testing purposes.

The technology was subsequently refined to recognize other signs of regulatory testing, according to hacker Felix Domke, who analyzed the software with the finest of combs.

Volkswagen and its executives failed to respond to requests for comment from the newspaper. The report doesn’t name the PowerPoint’s creator, and the question of who saw the presentation remains unanswered.

It’s possible some Volkswagen heads are still due for the chopping block, but the company has already paid an astronomical price for its consumer deception.

Besides sales that resemble a jetliner’s trajectory following a double bird strike, the company has carved out $18.2 billion from its struggling operation to fund last week’s settlement with U.S. consumers and regulators.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • VoGo VoGo on Apr 27, 2016

    The B&B loves to criticize the NYT, but you see, this is what they do. Actual journalism. Journalism may be a dying industry, but some of us still believe that an informed voter is essential for democracy.

    • See 5 previous
    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Apr 29, 2016

      @Lou_BC Do you even know who Bernie Sanders is? Do you know who Vince Foster was? Do you know who Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, and Kathleen Willey are? Do you know what Whitewater was? Do you know what Hillary Care was, or about Hillary's midas touch in the stock market? Do you know about the Clintons having to return the $200K in furniture they stole last time they vacated the White House, or the $80K in damages they had to reimburse the US for after they looted? Do you know about Hillary being fired from the Watergate commission, or about her laughing about a child rape victim she crucified on the stand years after the fact on tape? The media takes advantage of willful ignoramuses like you by reporting only what furthers their statist agenda. Your lack of character makes you easy prey for propagandists. You seem proud of how malleable you are for the people that will strip your rights. Pitiful.

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Apr 28, 2016

    Rogue engineers Piëch and Wintercorn, sitting in a tree, Set the tone years ago, For all we now see...

  • ToolGuy I AM PLACING [sic] NICELY. There is NO NEED TO BAN ME. Personally I do lots of things which DON'T MAKE SENSE, sometimes to myself, often to others. WHO ELON MUSK ENDORSES is really kind of NONE OF MY BUSINESS. It is a FREE COUNTRY, in some ways, still. I wish I knew how to FORMAT MY COMMENT better. I USED TO KNOW HOW, maybe I am losing it slowly (lot of that going around, JUST SAYING).
  • Aja8888 I can't read those whole thread without throwing up....
  • ToolGuy Maybe I will GIVE IT A LISTEN. Probably when I'm MOWING THE LAWN. Probably with a BATTERY OPERATED MOWER. (There are also batteries IN MY HEADPHONES. And IN MY PHONE.) Does anyone remember how to make a NEW PARAGRAPH?
  • ToolGuy I am NOT SURE WHAT TO SAY. In fact I'M NOT EVEN SURE WHAT I JUST READ. I paid a premium for my last cordless drill/driver because it has a hydraulic front end which PRODUCES LESS NOISE AND VIBRATION.
  • ToolGuy Tim, THANK YOU FOR THE ALL CAPS. I think it ADDS A LOT to the discussion. I might USE it MYSELF in the future. Have a GREAT WEEKEND.