Report: VW Power Point Described How to Cheat U.S. Diesel Test
Detail Shows Deliberate Strategy to Circumvent Standards
As it seems things couldn’t possibly get any worse for Volkswagen and the fallout from its diesel emissions cheating scandal, a report from The New York Times reveals a detailed PowerPoint presentation put together by a top technology executive within the company on how to pass the stringent U.S. emissions tests without the need for costly and complex after-treatment systems. The sources that have seen the document spoke on condition of anonymity due to the ongoing investigation. The report also says company executives vastly underestimated the potential penalties and costs of the scheme being discovered.
Other court documents released as part of the investigation reveal the company believed its chances of being caught for the emissions defeat software were minimal, as the equipment utilized in on-road tests that ultimately revealed the issue was infrequently used by regulators for testing. The standardized procedures used by regulators could be programmed into the engine control module to recognize the vehicle was being tested and go into “test mode” to minimize emissions. The cheat software became even more sophisticated when it was programmed to recognize whether or not the steering wheel was being used. Typically, laboratory dynamometer tests are conducted on rollers, and the steering wheel is minimally moved.
The report also shows the company expected the same deferential treatment from U.S. regulators that it received in Germany, where it is one of the country’s largest employers. Prior to the diesel emissions scandal, the largest fine levied against an automaker in U.S. history was $100 million against Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy figures on many models. Volkswagen executives reportedly believed even if its cheating was revealed, the fine was unlikely to surpass the previous record. Even after U.S. regulators started asking the company questions about its cars emissions performance, the company reportedly continued to ship and sell vehicles with the cheat software for another year.
Source: The New York Times