Volkswagen scandal in Germany

This video from Germany is called Made in Germany. Tax Scandal.

From British weekly The Observer:

Bribery, brothels, free Viagra: VW trial scandalises Germany

Tales of high-level sleaze heard in court have angered millions afflicted by welfare cuts and a pay freeze

Kate Connolly in Berlin

Sunday January 13, 2008

For years, it is a wonder that Volkswagen managed to produce any cars at all. Europe’s biggest automobile company, and the leading symbol of corporate Germany, was embroiled in a widespread scandal involving sex, bribery and pleasure trips, the scale of which the continent has not seen before.

In a courtroom investigation in Braunschweig in Lower Saxony, in the north west, details of the €2.5m affair have been unfolding and the nation has been poring over the lurid details. They involve a string of expensive hookers, sex parties and expense-account shopping trips which took place over the best part of a decade, endorsed by a management keen to buy the support of union officials and the shopfloor at a critical time for the company. The scandal has claimed the scalp of the personnel director Peter Hartz – who was convicted at a trial last year – along with two senior managers and the chairman of the powerful works council.

Volkswagen boss Peter Hartz, in the midst of these scandals, is also infamous as the architect of the Hartz IV law. In that law, Hartz attacked the rights of unemployed people in Germany. Attacks on unemployed people are often accompanied by lots of noise about how “immoral” poor people supposedly are. Well, now we know how “moral” rich Mr Hartz is; unfortunately, after his plans became law.

34 thoughts on “Volkswagen scandal in Germany

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  10. 75 years ago: Nazis showcase Volkswagen Beetle at auto show

    On February 17, 1939 the Nazi regime held its German International Motor Show in Berlin. Hitler arrived to open the show escorted by a fleet of racing cars and motorcycles with Germany’s best known drivers at the wheels while the fascist leader passed between the ranks of 20,000 men of the NSKK (Motor Corps).

    As the London Times noted, the show more accurately might have been called the “Great German Motor Show” since the products of the German motor industry now included cars from manufacturers formerly within Austria and Czechoslovakia which only the previous year were foreign exhibits.

    Recognizing the importance of automotive industrial capacity for war, Hitler hoped to narrow the enormous gap separating the German auto industry from the American, where the mass production techniques pioneered by Henry Ford had generated enormous new markets in the 1920s.

    Opening the show, Hitler spoke of the might which had been added to the Reich by the creation of Great Germany. The annexation of Austria and the seizure of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia had brought Germany’s population to 80 million, thus providing a larger internal market.

    The prototype Volkswagen, the “Strength through Joy car,” named after the leisure wing of the party, aimed to stimulate this market. Commissioned by Hitler to build an economical, affordable car, Ferdinand Porsche designed the “K.d.F Wagen” with its streamlined body and air-cooled engine mounted at the rear. The car was also made to ensure a machine gun could be mounted on the bonnet. Essentially the same design would later find popularity as the Volkswagen Beetle.

    The dream to develop mass consumer markets was stillborn. According to historian Bernhard Rieger, only a fraction of the orders required to make car production at the Volkswagen Wolfsburg factory viable arrived before the outbreak of war. This reflected the poverty of the German population and a widespread anxiety about the future generated by Nazi foreign policy. Only 630 production models of the vehicle were made before the war, with most going to Nazi officials.


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