Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Volkswagen Scandal - The Big Lie!

$18 Billion Fines 
Criminal Charges Possible

Sounding like the plot for some movie focused on the complete lack of morals or ethics in corporate boardrooms is the recent revelations about VW's deliberate actions to thwart emission control standards. Apparently they have been successful since 2009 by installing elaborate software in 482,000 'clean diesel' vehicles sold in the United States.

It is now known that since 2009 VW had been inserting code in it's vehicle software which monitored steering and pedal movements. If those actions indicated the vehicle was being tested for nitrogen-oxide emissions in a lab, the pollution controls were turned on thwarting the testing. The pollution controls were turned off when the vehicles were being driven regularly.

Government regulators never did catch onto the ruse which was uncovered by an independent group trying to reconcile the difference in test results on the bench and actual on the road results being reported in Europe. They did actual road testing and discovered the VW Jetta was emitting 15 - 35 times as much nitrogen oxide as the allowable limit.

This is not some isolated case of an honest mistake, but the deliberate attempt to go around emission control standards, which is not taken lightly by our friends to the south. The Department of Justice is contemplating criminal charges and the EPA could end up levying fines as high as $18 billion. In the meantime VW stocks lost 30% of their value last week.

For a more complete report check out this Vox article by Brad Plumer.

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