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VW CEO: 'I am endlessly sorry' brand is tarnished

48 Comments
By GEIR MOULSON and PAN PYLAS

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48 Comments
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to me, i still like vw cars, knowing a lot of companies did similar things. some lucky not caught yet.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

$37k per car? If they have to pay that much, how can they avoid bankruptcy?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"I'm sorry........we got found out"

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Will this be a 'black swan' ala Taleb? Anyone care to predict the fallout?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

VW is just being victimised. Foreigners just don't understand German culture. Americans are just jealous of German carmakers. Isn't that how the argument goes?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

All 'diesel engines' are dirty there is no way around this, they either need to be phased out or replaced by electric vehicles.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

This is just part of the global effort of huge corporations and the groups they sponsor/payoff to avoid taking responsibility for human induced climate change. How many people knew about VW's criminality and kept their mouths shut?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

VW is just being victimised. Foreigners just don't understand German culture. Americans are just jealous of German carmakers. Isn't that how the argument goes?

That's how it goes in Japan.

I doubt VW will be charged the maximum fine, though they are not going to get off cheaply. But the repercussions will financially greater than the Takata airbag mess, as the EPA does not like to be messed with.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Honda and Ford were caught too. The huge potential US fines for VW come from VW deciding to build a new engine manufacturing plant in Russia and not give in to the arm twisting of the US to build it in America.

This was meant to teach the Germans a lesson.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Shouldn't this revelation make the shaken on all VWs in Japan with the Type EA 189 engines invalid?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“Let’s be clear about this. Our company was dishonest. With the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board, and with all of you. And in my German words, we have totally screwed up,” the head of Volkswagen’s U.S. division, Michael Horn, said Monday

The wrongdoing committed by certain people in VW aside, I am very impressed with how the company's German executives are flat-out taking ownership of their misdeeds (even though I realize this does come after more than a year of denials on their part).

This is certainly in stark contrast to how Japanese and U.S. auto industry executives have been handling their companies' scandals.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

That kind of deception is criminal as it affects the air we all breath and was put in place to reduce harmful emissions. Actually instead of the big fines prosecute those responsible, starting at the top!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Winterkorn is sorry--and will likely soon be charged by German legal authorities for deceiving German automotive certification authorities at the rate things are going....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Glad I drive a Nissan.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

JoeinTokyo:

Imported Diesel cars are not sold in Japan. There are some grey imports but they cost a fortune to import and you cannot drive them in Cities and have to pay extra on toll roads. MB, BMW and VW have been trying to get Japan to take this technology for years, so I bet they are glad they did not now. I wonder if the stealth gadget is fillet to gasoline cars?. If so then there will be hell to pay as there are millions of these in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Actually the whole thing is simple, it's called GREED and it is the standard operating principal for the world now.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It really is time that companies were simply given a license to operate by the state working on behalf of the people (not on behalf of the corporations themselves) and when they destroy trust the license should be withdrawn for a period. Simple. Repeated violations should see complete shut down. Companies cannot be trusted. The bigger they are the less they can be trusted since they have more power to deceive and influence the regulators and displace their externalities onto the rest of society and the world in general. Taken all in all we should treat big corporations as if they are a nett cost to society and the world and allow them to operate if and only if they can show otherwise. We should not simply concentrate on the small benefits we get from them.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Hopefully, they go bankrupt and out of business so as to provide a lesson to the other greedy ones out there.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And I relentlessly criticize the boards of Toshiba, Toyota, and Sony for transparency.......

'I am endlessly sorry'....delivered with insincerity and a forked tongue, the barefaced breathtaking arrogance and dishonesty of this shameless weasel is breathtaking in it cynicism and deceit .

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The government inspectors should have been suspicious over VW's low emissions figures. As Paul Richards posted, diesel exhaust is inherently dirtier than those from other hydrocarbon fuels, and new technologies have only been marginally successful in cleaning them up. What's more, if the inspectors can be so easily tricked by VW, I wonder what other manufacturers have been able to pull of some sneaky maneuver to get their pollution figures down.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

At least they came clean and admitted that they did wrong without mincing any word, without shifting blame, without double talking with carefully designed vague word plays. They just came out flatly and said they deliberately rigged the test, no attempts to cloud the issues with complex arguments, and no attempts to deflect blame nor minimize their deeds. If this was Japanese company or government, there's no way this could have happened. For that reason and also the fact that I like VW cars over the dull washing machine economy cars made from the eastern country, I'll still buy VW and support German cars in general.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Lets say what we really mean "I am endlessly sorry for getting caught and embarrassing the board who implicitly validated this. I am sorry to the senior management teams who's bonuses will more than likely be subject to the various clawback clauses. I would also like to say sorry to my wife who will no longer be able be able to use the corporate jet IF I get fired (yeah right)."

He might have come clean on this but what choice does he have when VW got caught red handed???

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Volkswagen scandal: how two campaigners exposed the world's biggest car company...

Peter Mock and John German never intended to spark a huge crisis in the motor industry and not forgetting the technology and researchers at West Virginia University,....The US authorities will roll heads here and they deserve no hiding place. This was deliberate collusion to conceal pollution on a enormous scale.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/11883343/volkswagen-scandal-campaigners-expose-world-biggest-car-company.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In the end, it was a case of somebody finally figuring out why Volkswagen four-cylinder turbodiesel engines sold in European-market Volkswagens had trouble meeting even the less stringent Euro 5 emission regulations. And that is something that could send VW executives to jail in Germany and the European Commission imposing a gigantic fine of at least 10 billion Euros (circa 1.334 trillion Japanese yen).

In effect, VW studied how they test emissions in Europe and the USA and figured out a way to effectively skirt the law by making the engine only comply when subject to emissions testing and not in real-world driving.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm right. I never believed VW claimed of its TDI Diesel Engine was emitting less than Toyota Hybrid power car. It's intentionally cheating and misleading but it was not accidental mistook make by VW technology department. VW knows its TDI Diesel engine was not green and environment friendly engine when they researched and produced but the VW misleading to the world by Economical fuel consumption, long service and maintenance intervals, plus low emissions, all combine to keep costs low.

VW should be charged with criminal offense. Also VW must refund car owners who want to return their cars because the car was emitting 40 times as much nitrogen oxide as the allowable limit. I don't think car owners will happy with reducing car power and performance if their cars were lower emission controlled by software. It will be very expensive to fix current VW cars' emission level and may be VW will not fix it.

Volkswagen also warned that future profits could be affected, and set aside an initial 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to cover the fallout.

It look like VW doesn't take seriously about EPA. Also VW is only looking into problems in US and not in other parts of world. China is biggest VW and Audi cars market. VW didn't respond well in its faulty transmission problems and VW was forced to recall its problematic car in China, Australia and other countries.

VW must learn from Toyota experiences if VW wants to recover its brand name and market share.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Used to drive a Polo GTI, a real pocket rocket. However,

Volkwagen stunningly admitted that some 11 million of the German carmaker’s diesel vehicles contain software that evades emissions controls

Evades amounts to criminal conspiracy. As with the FIFA debacle, the US (and other aggrieved parties) should be seeking the extradition of those people responsible. To put this in more simple terms, these activities seem to amount to criminal behavior. There is no excuse. Please tell me the difference between such white color crime and the activities undertaken by the mafia. The US has RICO statutes to combat organized crime. Perhaps the people involved should be measured up for prison jumpsuits.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

At least they came clean and admitted that they did wrong without mincing any word, without shifting blame, without double talking with carefully designed vague word plays

Not quite the mitigating factor it might see. Unlike technological flaws, where blame is difficult to place, this was a deliberate and highly-sophisticated effort to break the law. Also unfortunate for the VW folk, this comes at a time of increased clamor for white-color criminals to be held accountable. In this case, it shouldn't be difficult to discern who they are, and they can expect jail time. Their awareness of this likely plays a large roll in their belated contrition.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

VW CEO: 'I am endlessly sorry' brand is tarnished.

Would be more accurate if he said "I am sorry for endlessly tarnishing the VW brand". No way, with 11 million cars involved, that senior management did not know about this. GM and Toyota crossed the line by trying to cover-up known defects. VM deliberately broke the law and shelfishly, and knowningly, polluted the air we all breath. And that is one thing this article does not mention -- the civil suits that VW will be subject to, especially in the U.S. There will be dozens of class-action suits against them not just by VW owners, but environmental groups wanting compensation for the pollutants they allowed to be put into the environment. Mark my words, you'll read about the first one within a matter of days or weeks, not months.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

11 million vehicles and they don't have all the answers to "who installed the software, under what direction, and why"?

Right.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm not usually bothered by scandals like this; business is a dirty game and the law of the jungle means that this type of thing is inevitable.

But this is staggering... How on earth did they think they could get away with this. Surely hundreds, maybe thousands, of employees must have been aware of what was going on. How were they kept onside?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

lucabrasi: Surely hundreds, maybe thousands, of employees must have been aware of what was going on. How were they kept onside?

Could be a few dozens or less. Software is contained in Engine Control Units, which are sealed. You can hack them, but where's the economic sense in training dealers' personnel to do that? So, how "thousands"?

Part of keeping a secret is limiting the size of the circle who have it. I'm not picturing a tech brief sent out by VW on how to circumvent EPA tests.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/advanced-cars/how-professors-caught-vw-cheating

https://www.google.com/#q=reflash+ecu

https://www.hondata.com/reflash_faq.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The only VW I love are the classic old-school Beetles. Other than that, they'e not reliable, especially their electronics........well except for one sneaky piece that is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@turbostat

Thanks. I know nothing about technology in general and cars in particular, so I was basically showing my ignorance.

That said, even if we're talking about "dozens" (let's say twenty-four) of people, it still seems pretty remarkable that they could all be persuaded to go along with such a massively criminal scheme. Someone at the top must be pretty persuasive, or have a lot of photos of employees in compromising positions....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is certainly a real WOW, off the charts frack up & primo example of corporate GREED at its most wicked!

I want to see a LONG line of suits headed for JAIL CELLS & pronto!

This is a PERFECT example of why business can NEVER to left to its own devices, greed is a truly awful thing

VW may never recover from this, although I never bought their cars I always respected them, NO LONGER I would never buy even a car part from them!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

lucabrasi: ... That said, even if we're talking about "dozens" (let's say twenty-four) of people, it still seems pretty remarkable that they could all be persuaded to go along with such a massively criminal scheme.

You're welcome.

I've often thought the same, on similar topics, but it seems it rarely happens that the benefits of whistleblowing (self-esteem, possibility of small to large payout after years of litigation) outweigh the costs (blacklisting in the industry, immediate loss of job, income, house, car, likelihood college for the kids, etc.). And what happens if whistleblowing fails?

Tobacco companies, chemical and drug companies, climate change activists, public sector employees on tidy benefits and retirement schedules, they're all comparable. Don't see any of them giving up their slice of the pie, much.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

WOW this could be really really expensive for VW, they were also aiming to be the largest automaker by number of cars sold this year, this may take a dent out of that total, In there drive to be N01 theyseem to have cut corners along with heavy discounting of there vehicles. Just of note Toyota while selling about the same amount of vehicles as VW (10million) made about 25% $5 billion more profit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Basically VW panicked seeing Toyota's hybrid system and made a false claim trying to match the envelop based on false information concerning their developed technology.I have a feeling the German government was involved or at least knew about it and kept a blind eye on it knowing their industrial basis would be crippled if their Auto industry goes down.

I wonder if Euroncap was in on it too. In any case this is not going to blow away anytime soon.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Apparently VW are being sued in Italy for falsifying statistics about fuel consumption, costing the average driver 500 euros a year.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is going to be a massive blow against the European diplomats screaming for Japan to abolish various automotive inspections and accept European inspection with blind faith.

I also can hear the laughter from Suzuki while they wipe sweat off their forehead clearing all relationship with VW not receiving this "Clean" diesel technology.

In hind-site you can see VW was covering up this fraud from the very beginning since the strategic alliance between VW and Suzuki was for VW to provide the diesel technology in exchange for helping VW to enter market in India in which VW dragged their feet to provide the promised technology but still hammered Suzuki for not fulfilling their end of the bargain. I bet Suzuki will sue VW with this new revelation as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

German Diesel Vehicles Software vs. Japanese Takata Airbag

is like Slow Death vs. Instant Death

0 ( +5 / -5 )

From what I've heard, my sympathies are actually with VW. Apparently, the base problem is that there is no way diesels can beat those tests while maintaining satisfactory fuel consumption and performance results. If that's true, then this is one of those things that happen when impossible standards are set.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Imported Diesel cars are not sold in Japan.

Poppycock! BMW and Mercedes-Benz both sell diesels in this market. VAG don't though, so rest easy, @JoeinTokyo.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/28/business/corporate-business/mercedes-benz-japan-launches-first-diesel-hybrid-sedan/#.VgKk_rSTafQ http://www.bmw.co.jp/jp/ja/general/news_events/campaign/2013_cleandiesel_3Q/

you cannot drive them in Cities

Mazda's compact SUV only comes in diesel, and it's not aimed at farmers.

and have to pay extra on toll roads.

News to us. Gotta link?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"From what I've heard, my sympathies are actually with VW. Apparently, the base problem is that there is no way diesels can beat those tests while maintaining satisfactory fuel consumption and performance results. If that's true, then this is one of those things that happen when impossible standards are set."

Um. That is why they call it a standard. If you can't meet it, you can't sell the product. Many diesel cars can meet the standards of the US, but they cannot achieve the performance that the VW management claimed. They were put at a competitive disadvantage. The US government and US public were lied to over and over. On a widely aggregated basis, I have heard an estimate that these 11 million vehicles' emissions over the last 5 years have caused over 1000 deaths from air pollution. Let's say it is only 100, just to give VW the benefit of the doubt..

If that is true, then this is much worse than Fukushima Daiichi in terms of causing death and human suffering. Moreover, it was an overtly criminal act of fraud on a huge international scale.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

VW CEO endlessly sorry brand is tarnished, but not enough to resign.

Endless has a new meaning, I guess. It now means, not really sorry enough to take responsibility.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

GM killed 124 people with faulty ignition switches and the "fine" was 1/20th of the figure being thrown around for VW. No one at GM resigned or suffered any penalty, except for the customers who died.

The differnce is that GM gives $millions to politicians in campaign conributions and (wink wink) $100's of millions in lobbying, while VW only gave less than $50,000.

About 2.2 million large US diesel engines in Dodge pickup trucks and tractors trailers pollute far more, but are not required to pass the emissions test the small imported engines must pass.

I trust the "bad button" stalkers will be out in force soon. Facts are so inconvenient.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Perhaps you could provide some sources for claims.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Google is your friend.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

No, it is a crutch for the ill informed, the dishonest, and the lazy.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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