As Volkswagen Pushed to Be No. 1, Ambitions Fueled a Scandal
Volkswagen’s unbridled ambition — aiming to triple sales in a decade and overtake top carmaker Toyota — is central to what is shaping up to be one of the great corporate scandals of the age.
Danny Hakim, Aaron M. Kessler, and Jack Ewing on the VW diesel scandal:
Confronted again, Volkswagen continued to maintain that there was a problem with the testers, not the vehicles.
California regulators changed tack, examining the company’s software. Modern automobiles operate using millions of lines of computer code. One day last summer, the regulators made a startling discovery: A subroutine, or parallel set of instructions, was secretly being sent by the computer to what seemed to be the emissions controls.
Regulators were floored. Could Volkswagen be trying something similar to what the heavy-truck industry did to manipulate emissions tests in the 1990s?
Regulators set out to cheat the cheat, tweaking lab test parameters to trick the car into thinking it was on the road. The Volkswagens began spewing nitrogen oxide far above the legal limit.
So damning. So outrageous. Perhaps the only silver lining here will be if this accelerates the move towards electric cars.