‘Volkswagen bosses knew about pollution fraud for years’

This video from the USA says about itself:

VW’s Plot to Cheat America Revealed

19 July 2016

The biggest scandal in the 130-year history of the auto industry has been laid bare in a five-count civil complaint against Volkswagen announced by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday. The complaint throws a devastating light on a company culture that from the top down remained committed for years to cheating on U.S. emissions tests for not just VW models but also Audi and Porsche models using diesel engines—to the extent that the engines on some models emitted up to 40 times the permitted levels of nitrogen oxide pollution.

Executives even carefully evaluated what the cost would be to the company if they were caught. Reviewing previous cases of violations of environmental regulations by auto manufacturers in the U.S. they predicted that the likely fines posed “only a moderate cost risk.”

Read more here.

From the Financial Times in Britain:

July 19, 2016 3:30 pm

VW boss told of emissions issue in 2006, says New York attorney-general

Peter Campbell, Motor Industry Correspondent

Matthias Müller, chief executive of Volkswagen, was party to engineering discussions 10 years ago that ultimately led to the use of emissions cheating devices in VW’s diesel cars, New York state’s top law enforcement official has alleged.

A civil suit, filed by New York attorney-general Eric Schneiderman, also accuses VW of orchestrating a “cover up” from 2014 to conceal the existence of the devices, which served to illegally understate vehicles’ emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides in official tests.

From NPR in the USA today:

States’ Lawsuits Say VW Execs Ran A Cover-Up Of Diesel Emissions Cheating

By Bill Chappell

Citing “a culture of deeply-rooted corporate arrogance,” New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland have filed civil lawsuits against Volkswagen, accusing the carmaker of violating the states’ environmental laws when it sold cars under the “clean diesel” label that were actually rigged to trick emissions tests.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced the lawsuits Tuesday, along with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. The lawsuits reflect more than 50,000 diesel vehicles: more than 25,000 in New York, 15,000 in Massachusetts and 12,935 in Maryland.

“Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche defrauded thousands of Massachusetts consumers, polluted our air, and damaged our environment and then, to make matters worse, plotted a massive cover-up to mislead environmental regulators,” Healey said. “With today’s action, we want to make clear to all auto manufacturers that violating laws designed to protect our environment and our public health is unacceptable and will be punished with significant penalties.” …

Here’s some of what the lawsuits allege:

That Volkswagen used six different “defeat devices” to purposefully skirt U.S. emissions rules, including three generations of a device used in Volkswagens and other iterations used in Audi and Porsche diesel engines.

That from at least 2006, VW “intensively researched” whether it could say the defeat devices were legal — and that “Its conclusion was that it could not.”

That “at least by the spring of 2014, key Volkswagen executives were on notice of the cause of high real-world driving NOx emissions and did nothing to prevent both Audi and Volkswagen from repeatedly deceiving regulators and the American public for another eighteen months.”

That before the scandal broke, a senior Volkswagen attorney warned VW employees that the company faced likely litigation — prompting “at least eight employees” in the engineering department to delete or remove incriminating data;

That Volkswagen‘s “culture that incentivizes cheating and denies accountability comes from the very top and, even now, remains unchecked” — citing millions of dollars’ worth of severance payments to former CEO Martin Winterkorn and former marketing head Christian Klingler.

From the New York Times in the USA today:

The New York complaint claims that more than two dozen Volkswagen engineers and managers were involved in the deception, including Wolfgang Hatz, the former head of engine and transmission development at Volkswagen and Audi; Ulrich Hackenberg, former head of development for Audi; and Heinz-Jakob Neusser, former head of development for the Volkswagen brand. While several executives have been identified by the news media, German prosecutors, because of the country’s strict privacy laws, have named only one suspect, Mr. Winterkorn.

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