VW blames only a small in-group for emissions scandal

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Europe’s biggest motor manufacturer said last week only a few employees were responsible for the cheating US diesel emissions tests and there was no indication board members were involved. Volkswagen released a statement claiming the company is making good progress with its investigation, technical solutions, and Group realignment. For the first time, the Company provided detailed commentary on the status of its investigation, which is being coordinated by a special committee of the Supervisory Board. VW said approximately 450 internal and external experts are involved in the investigations, which are being conducted in two phases: an internal review which focuses on relevant processes, reporting and monitoring systems and, as a second step, the “specialists” will provide their findings to the external experts from Jones Day. And, if everyone was expecting from VW to point fingers at big names, the internal investigators have found that the software-influenced NOx emissions “behavior” was due to the interaction of three factors: the misconduct and shortcomings of individual employees, weaknesses in some processes and a mindset in some areas of the company that tolerated breaches of rules. “It is clear that, in the past, deficiencies in processes have favored misconduct on the part of individuals. This is true, for example, for test and certification processes affecting our engine control devices, which were not suited to preventing use of the software in question. Group Audit has suggested specific remedies to correct this. We are concentrating on structuring these processes more transparently and systematically. For example, in the future, software for engine control devices will be developed more strictly in accordance with the 4-eyes principle. In addition, the bodies responsible for the release of such software are being reorganized.” In a nurshell, VW’s findings show that no one is to blame, at least nobody from the top. Volkswagen has decided that future emissions tests will be evaluated by external and independent entities. In addition, randomly selected real-life tests to assess emissions behavior on the road will be introduced. Chairman of the Supervisory Board Potsch stated: “We hope that this will help Volkswagen regain lost trust.”