Volkswagen, You're Not Fooling Anyone Anymore.

“The evidence paints the most detailed picture yet about how the deception unfolded and who was responsible.” Even though this will be sorted out in court, it seems that the evidence is indisputable: the highest levels of Volkswagen’s management were aware of the emissions scandal. There are even emails from board members begging for someone to “Come up with a story, please!” as law enforcement came closer and closer to discovering the truth. The board of VW should just come clean here – the longer they try to defend the indefensible, the more they put their organization at risk of financial bankruptcy. That should matter to them at least, considering that they are already morally bankrupt. You can read more about the new evidence in The New York Times.

Image: Maura Healey and Eric Schneiderman, the Massachusetts and New York Attorney Generals respectively, as they discuss the new lawsuits they're filing against Volkswagen, along with the state of Maryland. Credit: Bryan Thomas for NYT via NYT

Is $15 Billion Enough to Repair Volkswagen's Broken Image?

After nearly a year of following this story, it’s good to see that Volkswagen will finally be paying some substantive money to rectify its disastrous emissions scandal. They’ll be paying a reported $10 billion to consumers, $5 billion to the EPA – about 20% of VW’s worth as a company. It’s the largest settlement deal in US automotive history, but I’m still not sure it’s enough – executives who were directly responsible for deceit and creating default devices should be prosecuted. You can read more on this at NPR

Image: Getty Images via NPR

We Still Need to Talk about Volkswagen

As seen in this article, the continual neglect by Volkswagen executives to consider their emissions cheating scandal a “real problem” in the months leading to the sudden announcement shows a fundamentally toxic corporate culture. It’s one thing to have cheating be a habitual aspect of your business, but it’s quite another to see cheating as so normal that it’s only worth setting 10 minutes aside in a meeting to discuss its possible financial and reputation-based ramifications. While some of the leadership of VW responsible for the scandal have left the company, VW still has a lot to prove in terms of repairing its image – both to customers and to current employees who may have been compelled to cooperate with the emissions cheating for fear of losing their job. Read more about their conduct at The New York Times.

Photo Credit: Justin Lane for European Pressphoto Agency, via NYT

Cooking the Books in Bunches

When corporate wrongdoing is considered the norm, companies are better able to rationalize bad behavior and culture. When a corporation is revealed to be up to no good, like the recent Volkswagen scandal for example, the rest of the industry takes notice. For this reason, whistle blowers need to be supported by corporate culture, so that industry-wide practices can be above board both ethically and legally. Read more at the New York Times.