Volkswagen Employees Say Manager Told Them to Destroy 'Defeat Device' Evidence

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen employees say manager told them to destroy 8216 defeat device evidence

As the Environmental Protection Agency readied charges against Volkswagen, the automaker’s employees were told to remove evidence related to the diesel emissions scandal, German media reports claim.

The New York Times says several Volkswagen employees told investigators that just before the scandal broke, someone in a “supervisory position” told them indirectly to remove evidence of the emissions-cheating defeat devices installed in millions of diesel vehicles.

The manager used vague language when advising the employees on what to do, but “everyone understood” what the message meant, according to a spokesperson for the state attorney in Braunschweig, Germany.

Because of the ongoing investigation, the employee and his or her position within the company can’t be named. The order to erase evidence came in August 2015, a month before the EPA accused Volkswagen of emissions cheating.

The Times mentioned an anonymous source close to the automaker, who claimed “the suspect was a member of Volkswagen’s legal staff and has been suspended from his job.”

In court, the company said top brass were unaware of the looming charges, even though a memo was sent to former CEO Martin Winterkorn about concerns expressed by U.S. regulators about vehicle emissions irregularities. A PowerPoint presentation dating to 2006 was also found during the investigation.

In the wake of the scandal, Volkswagen hired law firm Jones Day to look into the issue. In March, the company’s supervisory board cleared management of any breaches of duty in relation to the scandal. That decision was apparently based on known evidence collected by the investigators.

A full report from Jones Day detailing the actions of the company isn’t expected until later this year.

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  • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Jun 09, 2016

    I don't think the Germermans much care about this anymore. Der Spiegel's homepage right now ( doesn't have a peep about VW and that's usually a good place to see what's rilin' the Heinies at any particular time. They do, though, have an awesome report about Columbian doctors extracting an intact grenade round from the head of a soldier. Oh, and they cover the Ottawa sinkhole.

  • Voyager Voyager on Jun 10, 2016

    "Wir haben es nicht gewusst"... since someone higher up the chain of command told us so. Sounds familiar?

    • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Jun 10, 2016

      Meh... people are people. Anyone will dummy-up if their job is on the line; the better the job, the greater your Kadavergehorsam.

  • Probert There's something wrong with that chart. The 9 month numbers for Tesla, in the chart, are closer to Tesla's Q3 numbers. They delivered 343,830 cars in q3 and YoY it is a 40% increase. They sold 363,830 but deliveries were slowed at the end of the quarter - no cars in inventory. For the past 9 months the total sold is 929,910 . So very good performance considering a major shutdown for about a month in China (Covid, factory revamp). Not sure if the chart is also inaccurate for other makers.
  • ToolGuy "...overall length grew only fractionally, from 187.6” in 1994 to 198.7” in 1995."Something very wrong with that sentence. I believe you just overstated the length by 11 inches.
  • ToolGuy There is no level of markup on the Jeep Wrangler which would not be justified or would make it any less desirable [perfectly inelastic demand, i.e., 'I want one']. Source: My 21-year-old daughter.
  • ToolGuy Strong performance from Fiat.
  • Inside Looking Out GM is like America, it does the right thing only after trying everything else.  As General Motors goes, so goes America.