Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Volkswagen in Deeper Trouble Over Emissions Scandal

After predictably settling with the corporate-friendly federal government for its emissions misrepresentations the scandal {07.10.15} got much worse Tuesday when the attorneys general for the states of New York, Massachusetts and Maryland announced they would seek damages for fraud since their nine month investigation reveals the company engaged in a "cunningly cynical fraud" at the heart of the scandal.  While deceiving regulators about its passenger car diesel engine's ability to meet air quality standards in the period 2009-14, the company ran television ads touting its clean diesel technology.  In 2010 Audi's A3 diesel won an award for "Green Car of the Year", and its Super Bowl ad was the second most watched commercial in history according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The EPA charged Volkswagen last year with violating the Clean Air Act.  The company had intentionally programmed its passenger diesel engines to detect and pass emissions test while they emitted forty times the allowed amount of nitrogen-oxide compounds, NOx, normal operating conditions. Investigators think the company deliberately pursued a corporate policy of deceit when it discovered their engines could not meet US emission standards for automobiles.  Volkswagen initially attempted to blame its fraudulent behavior on "rogue engineers", but since then investigators have discovered dozens of VW employees destroyed documents in order to cover-up the deliberate deception.   Implicated employees include CEO, Mathais Müller.  A debilitated federal EPA settled with the company for a $10 billion consumer buy-back program, $2.7 billion in environmental remediation, and $2 in clean technology investment.  Chump change for a successful international car maker earning profits of $14.25 billion in 2014.