Presentation shows VW execs cheated because fix was too costly

Volkswagen Passat

A continuing investigation of Volkswagen's emissions scandal revealed a presentation created in 2006 by a top-level executive that detailed specifics about how to cheat testing and avoid detection.

It is unclear how wide spread the 2006 presentation was within the company, but it does show that executives at Volkswagen (VW) knew about the cheating for over a decade. The presentation revealed that VW technicians thought the chances of getting caught were slim, since technology used by regulators to test cars were not widely used at the time.

"The seemingly small danger of discovery may have been a factor in tempting the VW engineers to make the impermissible software alteration," said Volkswagen lawyers in the court documents.

The presentation itself detailed how easy it was for the company to cheat on emissions testing using software. Volkswagen's diesel vehicles were equipped with software that could detect when an emissions test was being run, and would dial up its emissions suppression systems. On the road, however, emissions were over 40 times higher than what was recorded in a lab.

Dirty diesels

But why cheat in the first place? One big reason is that it would have cost VW a lot of money in order to get diesel cars clean enough for US emissions standards. That would have lead to higher priced cars, which would fail to compete on price with other car manufacturers. It was much cheaper to install cheating software than to engineer cleaner cars for VW.

Although the VW investigation is ongoing, the US government and VW already settled on an agreement where VW would either repair nearly half a million affected US cars or offer to buy back the cars from owners. On top of that, VW will face an estimated $18 billion fine for cheating.

Maybe VW should have invested its money into developing its awesome electric cars instead of trying to make diesel cars seem green.

Source: New York Times

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Lewis Leong
Lewis Leong is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He has an unhealthy obsession with headphones and can identify cars simply by listening to their exhaust notes.