The emission cheating that went back to 2006 and would land Volkswagen in deep trouble last September was an open secret in the automaker's engine development department.
German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung along with regional broadcasters NDR and WDR reported on Friday some of the results of Volkswagen's internal investigation into the diesel cheating scandal.
The cheating goes back to 2006 at Volkswagen's engine development department. With strict U.S. emissions standards looming, the department was given an impossible task; find a cost effective solution to develop clean diesel engines. Pressure from the board and fear of telling their bosses that it could not be done only added to fire of going with cheating.
"Within the company there was a culture of 'we can do everything', so to say something cannot be done, was not acceptable," said Sueddeutsche Zeitung in its report (and translated by Reuters).
Thus, the decision was made the development team to commit fraud to meet this impossible task. Sueddeutsche Zeitung says the cheating began in earnest in November 2006 and the staff took solace that regulators would not be able to detect the cheating with regular testing methods. The cheat was an open secret to those in the department.
That doesn't mean someone tried to speak out. The report says in 2011, a whistleblower who was involved in the deception, told a senior manager outside the department about the cheating. The manager reportedly did nothing.
A Volkswagen spokesman declined to comment on what he called 'speculation'.